Located in the Arabian Gulf, Qatar shares a land borders with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the south-west and is surrounded by the Arabian Sea. The Global Peace Index ranks features Qatar as one of 30 most peaceful countries in the world, and the most peaceful in the MENA region.
The country is currently focusing all its efforts on the growth and development of its people. The rulers of Qatar envision a future for their nation where every individual will have a high standard of living by acquiring the best in healthcare, education and other facilities. Sustainable living is one of the things that they are aiming to integrate into the society.
The earliest known evidence of human habitation in Qatar dates back to the 4th century BC from which artefacts such as rock inscriptions, rock carvings, flint spearheads and even pottery which were unearthed by Danish, British and the French expeditions between 1965 and 1976.
Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022 for which it will build nine eco-friendly iconic stadiums, some of which will be able to host up to 80,000 people.
Doha (Ad Dawha) is the capital city of Qatar and means 'roundness', according to the Centre for Geographic Information Systems.
December 18 is the Qatar National Day. Some of its other annual national holidays are Qatar National Sport Day celebrated on the second Tuesday of February. As it is primarily an Islamic country, Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha are the festive occasions.
The Pearl Qatar is a luxury development built on an artificial island shaped like a string of pearls. It was built on top of an old pearl diving site and is a great place for people to dine, socialize, shop for luxury apparel or products, or to enjoy a stroll along the marina.
World-renowned architect I M Pei designed the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, with its magnificent geometric architecture. It was opened in 2008 and is a blend of both Islamic and modern architectural styles.
Although Qatar is a desert, it has a diverse range of flora and fauna. Purple Island is an example of this. Located in 40km from Doha near the township of Al Khor, Purple Island is a fish-shaped island dotted with several low limestone cliffs throughout it and a mangrove forest that has a range of fish, shellfish as well as birds, including pink flamingoes which transit through Qatar during their seasonal migration. Every winter, traditional camel races are held in Al Shahaniya, which are not to be missed.
Arabic is the national language of Qatar but due to a large expatriate population that resides here, English, also widely used. Weekends in Qatar fall on Friday and Saturday. Most stores are usually closed on Friday mornings until the Jum’ah afternoon prayer.
Souq Waqif is one of Qatar’s most vibrant social hotspots. It is a traditional cultural bazaar, which houses a variety of shops selling traditional products as well as a range of restaurants serving a variety of cuisines such as Yemeni, Iranian, Iraqi, Thai, Malaysian, and Indian etc. It is also a popular place for visitors to smoke shisha pipes, enjoy good food, or just relax after a long week. In addition to these, Souq Waqif also has an interesting veterinary surgery centre for falcons, which are the traditional birds of Qatar.
The Corniche is one of the oldest landmarks in Qatar; it features a long walking path that is approximately 7km long. People walk, exercise, enjoy family picnics or simply sit by the sea for some fresh sea breeze and a magnificent view of the glittering West Bay skyline.
Before the discovery of oil, the economy of the Qatari region focused on fishing and pearl hunting. Oil was discovered in Qatar in 1940, in Dukhan Field the discovery transformed the state's economy. Now, the country has a high standard of living for its legal citizens. With no income tax, Qatar is one of the countries with the lowest tax rates in the world. The unemployment rate in June 2013 was 0.1%.