Qatar is an oil-rich peninsula sharing border with the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, strategically located near major petroleum deposits. The peninsula is about 160kms (100 miles) north-south. Apart from the capital city Doha, most other towns are oil-company compounds. The coastline of Qatar stretches for 350 miles (563km) with a scattering of sandy beaches, along the north and west. The island country of Bahrain is located about 40km (25miles) northwest of Qatar.
The land in Qatar is mainly flat and rocky. Some noteworthy aspects include elevated limestone formulations along the West Coast, salt pans along the west coast, wherein lies the Dukhan oil field. The massive sand dunes surround ‘Khawr al Udayd’ an inlet of the Persian Gulf, in the SouthEast, better known as the Inland Sea.
Most of Qatar is filled with sand dunes and salt flats across a low, barren plain, but, the northern peninsula has scattered vegetation. There is a small range of hills in the North-West, the highest is Qurayn Abu al Bawl, touching over 100m and forms part of the jebel Dukhan range.
The country’s most distinctive geographical feature is in the south of the country, close to the border with Saudi Arabia. A wide area of rippling dunes that surround an inlet of water from the Persian Gulf, a favourite spot for jeeb safaris and day trips from Doha, also known as Khor-Al-Adaid, a favourite spot for jeep safaris and day trips from Doha.
Vegetation is found only in the north, where the country’s irrigated farming areas are located, with desert plants blossoming briefly during the spring rains. Fauna is limited, and the government has implemented a program to protect the Arabian Oryx, the national animal in Qatar.
Doha is the capital city of Qatar, and also the major administrative, commercial and population centre. In the year 1993, Doha was linked to other towns and development sites through a system of about 1000km paved roads. Doha International Airport has a 4500m runway, capable of receiving all kinds of aircraft.
In the south, groundwater is difficult to obtain. Therefore, settlement formation was limited to wadis (dry river valleys) fed by nearby hills and rawdas. The eastern coastal city of Doha was once a pearling centre, and is now home to most inhabitants of the country. Doha is a good blend of pre-modern architecture with new office buildings, apartment complexes and shopping malls.
A visitor who descends into Qatar, will be welcomed by the eye-catching view of the capital city, Doha. The landscaped, crescent-shaped corniche, the sandy desert backdrop and the sparkling blue waters of the Gulf, are the first glimpse of what awaits a tourist, who arrives for a vacation in the sun-kissed country. Doha is a place filled with desert escapades, water sports, shopping indulgence, modern sporting equipments, historical museums, fine-dining, luxurious attractions and other natural attractions.
Al Rayyan, located 10kms north of Doha, is one of the largest residential areas outside Doha and is houses the Qatar Equestrian Federation, the organizers behind several races and an annual Arabian horse show.
Located in between Umm Said and Doha, is the town of Al Wakra. Though, originally a tiny pearling and fishing village, Al Wakra evolved itself into a small town with a population of not more than 30,000. The town has an Al Wakra museum in one of it’s old forts, that displays marine life and the history of the area. The town also has good art and architecture displays.
Is the core of Qatar’s industry, situated 45kms south of Doha, on the east coast peninsula. It is both an oil-export and commercial port with refineries, as well as other industrial establishments producing natural gas liquids, steel, petrochemicals and fertilizers. Umm Said has fine beaches too.
Khor Al Udaid
Located south of Doha, the sand dunes embrace the sea, surrounded by many sabkha deposits. The place can be reached only through four wheel drive cars, as the area is covered with sand and sabkha deposits.
Located 57kms in the north east-coast of Doha, Al Khor is renowned for its harbour comprising fishing boats and small crafts. It is also popular for its beaches, historic towers and mosques.
Ras Laffan Industrial City (RLIC)
Located along the northern shore of Qatari Peninsula, the RLIC is one of the world’s significant and accessible emergent industrial export locations.
Located 45kms south of Doha, Mesaieed is a major industrial city in Qatar, with the industrial area housing basic industries, a large sea port, and the principal terminal for export of oil. The beaches, and sand dunes of Mesaieed are among major tourist attractions in Qatar, as is the location of Movenpick Sealine Beach Resort.
Is a new town situated in the north end of the peninsula, about 107 kms north of Doha. It functions as an administrative center for quite a few coastal villages.
Located on the north of the peninsula, the town is a good example of Bedouin lifestyle that merges with today’s modern world.
Is located 100kms north-west of Doha, and is well-known for its old fort. This fort-turned museum was constructed during the year 1938, on the ruins of a neighbouring fort. The fort is square shaped with circular towers in three corners and rectangular tower in the fourth corner. The fort was used by the military until mid-1980s.
Located on the west coast of the peninsula, is 84kms from Doha. It became popular when people discovered oil in the surrounding area. The town is well-known for its fine beaches.