Doha Life

History

Archaeological artefacts and discoveries have shown that Qatar was populated around 10,000 – 8000 BCE. Before the collapse of the pearl market in 1930s poverty in Qatar was widespread, the Emir welcomed oil prospectors who arrived in the early 1930s. They struck oil in 1935 and due to delays surrounding WWII began production 10 years later. 85% of Qatar's income from exports comes from gas and oil.

Quick Facts
Official Name State of Qatar
Ruling Family Al-Thani
Capital Doha
Bordering Countries Saudi Arabia
Population Approximately 1.6 million
Language Arabic (English widely spoken and understood)
Religion Islam is the official religion in Qatar and Islamic Law (Sharia) is the prime source of legislation
Date of independence 3 September 1971
Currency Qatari Riyal (QR)
Time Zone GMT +3
International Dialling Code +974
Electricity 240V (UK style plugs are used)

Geography

Qatar is neighboured by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE and Oman which are the states of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). Qatar is a peninsula of 11521 sq km and is situated on the west coast of the Arabian Gulf.

Climate

The long summer (June through September) is characterized by intense heat and alternating dryness and humidity; with temperatures on occasions exceeding 55° C. Temperatures are moderate from November through May, although winter temperatures may fall to 17° C, which is relatively cool for the latitude.

Rainfall is negligible, averaging 100 millimeters per year, confined to the winter months, and falling in brief, sometimes heavy storms that often flood the small ravines and the usually dry wadis. Sudden dust storms occasionally descend on the peninsula, blotting out the sun, causing wind damage, and momentarily disrupting transport and other services.

Culture and Lifestyle

Qatar is an Islamic country, however allows the consumption of alcohol in its hotels. Public displays of drunkenness are seriously frowned upon and residents have been deported in the past following police involvement.

Dress for men and women should be conservative in public areas and the utmost respect should be shown to Qatari nationals.

Dos and Don'ts

  • Try to pick up and use a few Arabic words: 'Marhaba' - hello / welcome; 'Maasalamah' - goodbye / bye etc; 'Kief Halak' - how are you and respond with 'Tamaam'- Good/Perfect.
  • Try to visit the inland sea or the singing dunes a very popular place for newcomers.
  • It is important to be mindful of wearing appropriate clothing in public places as exposed shoulders and knees in men and women is not welcomed. However in the hotels dress wear is more liberal.
  • Do not attempt to take pictures of Qatari nationals without their permission; this can cause serious insult especially to the women.
  • During the month of Ramadan (Islamic month of fasting) eating and drinking in public is not permitted. Locals, residents and tourists are expected to abide by these rules.

Food and Water

Dehydration is a huge concern when living in Qatar especially with heat rising to 50 degrees some months, it is important to keep well hydrated and eat well and regularly to keep up energy levels in the hotter months of the year.

Shopping

Most malls will have a supermarket and provide a majority of the products you are all used to, however there are local alternatives. There are many restaurants in Qatar that cater to the expatriate and Arabic palate.

Mostly if not all clothing stores are here in the malls in Qatar, shopping is a pastime loved by both men and women both expatriate and Qatari. The malls however have rush hour periods Friday afternoons to evening and Saturday evenings are times to avoid unless you arrange for a Karwa taxi (government run taxi service) in advance.

Social Life

There are many social groups for people with all kinds of likes and dislikes, with cooking, dance classes, flower arranging courses, fencing, diving, chess and many, many more.

Getting Around

Driving in Qatar is essential as public transport is limited; there are taxis available however access to a car makes getting around so much easier.

Sport

Qatar hosts many events such as the tennis, football, rugby matches and equestrian races. Football is the national sport in Qatar at amateur and professional level. Many clubs offer activity programs for football, cricket, golf, horse riding etc. The hotels run many a sporting event and aerobic/yoga classes for all levels.

The hotels in Qatar offer amazing Spa treatments, residents can join the health clubs and gyms for annual memberships etc. Most sports are offered in Qatar, the information guides list them all e.g. The Marhaba and the Explorer are very helpful for tourists, new and existing residents to Doha.

Further Information

For further information on Qatar please visit one of the following websites:

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