Information about the State of Qatar
The State of Qatar is located halfway down the west coast of
the Arabian Gulf to
the east of the Arabian Peninsula. It is located between 24°
27’ and 26° 10’ north latitudes and 50° 45’ and 51° 40’
east longitudes. It is a peninsula extending into the north
in waters of the Gulf covering an area of
11,521 square kilometers.
The land of the peninsula of Qatar consists of a
flat and rocky
with some low-rising limestone outcrops in Dukhan area in
the west, which is 40m above sea level.
It is characterized by a variety of geographical phenomena
including many coves, inlets, depressions and surface
rainwater-draining basins, which are found mainly in the
north and central part of the peninsula. These areas have
the most fertile soil and are rich in vegetation.
Qatar has a desert climate with hot summer,
with annual average temperatures between 25- 40°C in the
summer. It has a
mild winter with little rain;
its annual rain-fall average is estimated at 75.2 mm.
The inhabitants of Qatar originated from
the old Arabian Tribes who migrated from remote areas at
different times starting from the seventeenth century to the
beginning of the nineteenth century.
The population of Qatar amount to 800,000 inhabitants with a
possible annual increase of 3.5%. Around 83% of inhabitants
reside in Doha and its main suburb Al-Rayyan. Most of
Qatar’s inhabitants are expatriates.
Religion and Language:
Islam is the official religion of the country
Arabic is the official language in Qatar. English is also
The National Anthem of the State of Qatar
reads as follows:
Swearing by Allah Who raised the sky
Swearing by Allah Who spread the light
Qatar will always be free
Sublimed by the souls of the sincere
Proceed you on the manners of the ascendants
And advance on Prophets’ guidance
The Anthem starts by an oath: In the name of Allah, Who
elevated the sky and spread the light, Qatar shall always
remain free, honorable and dignified with its glories
hovering high by the spirit of the sincere and faithful.
The first part of the Anthem urges the citizens of Qatar to
remain committed to tread the path of their forefathers, who
were honorable, respectable, knowledgeable and religious,
and to follow the guidance of the Prophets and their
preaching about righteousness, good and beauty. In the
hearts of Qatari people, Qatar is a story of nobility and
glory that no one can deny or belittle.
Swearing by Allah Who raised the sky
Qatar is in my heart
Qatar is an epic of glory and dignity
Qatar is the land of the early men
Who protect us at time of distress
Doves they can be at times of peace
Warriors they are at times of sacrifice
In the second and last part, the Anthem affirms that the
Qatari men of today are defenders of its land and dignity;
they are descendents of the ancestors who defended it in the
past and registered glorious annals of history in words that
The Anthem closes by reaffirming that Qatar will remain
free, dignified, glorious and noble.
The national flag is maroon color with a broad vertical
white stripe at the pole, the two colors being separated
with a nine-point serrated line.
The name of Al-Thani is derived from that of the family’s
ancestor Thani Bin Mohamed, who assumed the power in the
The Al-Thani are a branch of the Arab tribe Tamim, whose
linage dates back to Mudar Bin Nizar.
The Al-Thani arrived in Qatar in the early years of the 18th
century and initially settled in Ushaiqr Town .Then, they
settled around the Jibrin oasis in the eastern part of the
Arabian Peninsula. After that, they departed to Al-Ruwais
and finally to Al-Zubara. In the mid-19th century, however,
under the leadership of Mohamed bin Thani, they moved to the
present-day Doha. The rule of the State of Qatar is
hereditary in the family of Al-Thani.
Rulers of Al-Thani:
• Sheikh Mohamed Bin Thani
(1850 - 1878)
• Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohamed Al-Thani (1878 -
• Sheikh Abdulla Bin Jassim Al-Thani (1913
• Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdulla Al-Thani (1940
• Sheikh Abdulla Bin Jassim Al-Thani (1948
• Sheikh Ali Bin Abdulla Al-Thani
(1949 - 1960)
• Sheikh Ahmad Bin Ali bin Abdulla Al-Thani (1960 -
• Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad Al-Thani (1972
• Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani (1995
- to date)
On 27/6/1995, H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani acceded
to power with the support and approval of the ruling family
and the noble Qatari people.
Doha is the capital of Qatar. It is situated halfway down
the east coast of the Qatari peninsula. It has a big
commercial seaport and an international airport that links
it with the world. Almost fifty per cent of Qatar population
resides in Doha. It is an important cultural and commercial
centre .It enjoys excellent parks, luxurious hotels and big
trade complexes, along with the most prominent
Mesaieed is the first industrial city in Qatar. It came into
existence by discovering the oil in the country. It is
situated south of Doha, on the east coast of the country. It
has a commercial port and an oil-exporting port. There are
refineries in Umm Said as well as other industrial
establishments producing steel, natural gas liquid,
fertilizers, and petrochemicals. Mesaieed also has fine sand
beaches with dunes, which makes it one of the most
attractive tourist areas in the State of Qatar.
Ras Laffan is the second industrial city in the country. It
is located 85kms north east of Doha, covering 40 square
kilometers. It has been in recent times deemed as one of the
biggest industrial cities in the world. It has the biggest
seaport for gas exportation in the Arabian Gulf, along with
natural gas liquefaction plants.
Al-Khor town is situated about 57 km north of Doha. Al-Khor
has a harbor filled with small ships and fishing boats. It
is famous for its excellent beaches, archaeological towers,
along with a regional museum which includes Al-Khor’s
possessions of ancient and historic relics.
It is situated halfway between Doha and Mesaieed, about 15
km from Doha. It is a prosperous town with a seaport for
fishing. Al-Wakra includes a number of archaeological places
such as traditional houses which represent the old
architecture and Mosques, along with a regional museum for
relics and the natural history of the area.
Dukhan is situated on the west coast of the State of Qatar.
It became very important since oil was discovered in the
surrounding areas. It is distinguished by fine beaches that
attract visitors and locals. It is about 84 km from Doha.
This town is located on the coast of the northern tip of the
Qatari peninsula. It has been built to be an administrative
centre for a number of coastal villages. It is about 107 km
north of Doha.
Al-Zubara is the most important archeological site in Qatar.
It is situated about 105 km north of Doha. It is famous for
its old fort.
The town of Al-Shihaniya is situated just 60 km west of Doha
.It is a famous town for camel racing where a special track
was set up for this purpose.
Qatar in History
Archeological excavations, inscriptions, flint spearheads
and groups of pottery which were discovered by
archaeological expeditions from Denmark (1965), Britain
(1973) and France (1976) indicate that human habitation in
the Qatari peninsula is traced back to 4000BC. since there
is a clear sign of the presence of civilized settlements.
Around 200 archeological sites of the prehistoric period
were discovered during the eight years of the work of the
Danish expedition in Qatar between 1965 and 1975.
Several sites of different periods in the Stone Age were
discovered to the east of Umm Baab. Other sites were also
found in the southernmost border of Qatar near Sudanthil. An
important site for the manufacture of flinty instruments,
which could be traced back to the Mesolithic Middle Stone
Age, was discovered as well at Umm Taqah to the south west
of Dukhan. Several new more sites were discovered to the
south east of Umm Sa’id. The archeological excavations
demonstrated that the ‘Ubaidy civilization, which flourished
in southern Iraq and the northern region of the Arabian
Gulf, had also reached the Qatari peninsula.
In the 5th century B.C., the Greek historian Herodotus
mentioned that the Canaanite Tribes, a people known for
their trade and navigation skills, were the first people to
live in Qatar. Furthermore, Ptolemy, the Greek geographer,
made a reference to “the name of Qatar” in his map the
so-called the Arab countries as believed, to point out to
the Qatari town of Al-Zubarah, which was one of the most
important commercial ports in the Gulf region at that time.
Qatar in the Islamic History
In the middle of the 7th century A.D., the lands of Qatar
and the surrounding areas were under the rule of Al-Manazirah
Arabs. Their king, Al-Munzir Ibn Sawi Al-Tamimi, embraced
Islam. Thus, Qatar has joined the procession of the Islamic
civilization in all its successive stages and eras.
The presence of Qatar in the Arabic and Islamic literature
was very prominent, since poets expressed their admiration
of Qatar, its highbred camels, and woven cloth and garments
to the extent that, according to some sources, Allah’s
Messenger Mohamed (Blessings and peace be upon him) wore the
Qatari dress, and ‘Aisha (the Mother of the Faithful- may
Allah be pleased with her) wore a shield made of Qatari
textile. It was also reported that ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab(may
Allah be pleased with him) had a Qatari wrapper.
Furthermore, it is reported in the Arab Islamic History that
the Qatari people were very proficient in navigation skills,
so they took part in the preparation of the first navy which
was assembled to transport the Islamic army for jihad under
the leadership of Abu Al-Alaa Al-Hadrami.
The Arab historians and travelers honored the fame and
outstanding bravery of the Qatari poet and horseman: Qatari
Ibn Al-Fujaah. In his book Mu’jam Al-Buldan’, Yaqut Al-Hamawi,
a well known Arabian geographer, mentioned Qatar for its
fine striped woven cloaks, known at that time as Qatari
cloaks, and stated the Qataris’ remarkable skill in the
manufacture and fine finishing of spears, which were known
as Al-Khattiyah spears.
Under the Abbaside State during the 8th century A.H. (14th
century A.D.), Qatar witnessed a great economic boom, which
enabled it to financially support the Caliphate Centre in
Baghdad. The evidence of such support can be gleaned from
the inscriptions of Merweb fort, situated on the western
coast of the Qatari peninsula, since this fort carries the
distinguishing features of the Abbaside architectural style.
During the 10th century A.H. (16th century A.D.), the
Qataris allied the Turks to drive out the Portuguese;
consequently, Qatar, like all Arab countries in 1871, came
under the Turkish rule for four successive centuries.
Ottoman sovereignty, however, was only nominal since the
real authority was in the hands of the Sheikhs and princes
of local Arab tribes.
In 1893, the Turkish attacked the headquarters of Sheikh
Jassim Bin Mohamed, but he defeated them in Al-Wajbah
Battle. Subsequently, they retreated to Doha fort.
Qatar in the 2oth Century
Qatar continued to maintain its ties with the State of the
Islamic Caliphate during the early years of the 20th
century and recognized its nominal sovereignty even though
the Ottoman influence in the Gulf region and the Arabian
Peninsula was on the wane. In those circumstances, Qatar did
not commit itself to any protection pact other than the 1868
treaty, which Sheikh Mohamed Ibn Thani had signed with
On the other hand, Britain was able to conclude an agreement
with Qatar in 1916, which was finally approved on 23-03-
1918 after Sheikh ‘Abdulla Ibn Jassim had signed the
original and the translated versions.
Thus, Britain moved to the de fact presence stage in Qatar
after the approval of the amended pact in 1935, since the
amended version secured the cancellation of the “frozen
articles” in the old treaty concerning the British political
representation in Qatar, provided the establishment of an
office for postal and telegraphic services and the
establishment of airports and other facilities,
notwithstanding that no British political representative had
come to Doha before 1949.
Oil drilling operations took around 14 years (1935 - 1949),
and though oil started to flow from Dukhan field at the end
of 1939, operations stopped for 4 years (1942-1946) because
of the Second World War and its repercussions. In 1949, oil
started to flow in commercial amounts. So, in December of
the same year, the first ship left the shores of Qatar
bearing a consignment of Qatari crude oil to world markets.
Before Oil exploration operations and exporting it in
commercial amounts, a 10-year- period of hardship, which was
marked by food shortage, sharp increase in the price of
commodities and sharp fall in revenues from pearling
industry, hit the country between 1939 and 1949 in the
aftermath of the Second World War.
Although Qatar did not yet obtain its independence, it
spared no effort since the 1960s to engage in some
international activities by joining some technical UN
organizations such as the UNESCO and the WHO. It also shared
in the conferences of Oil Producing Countries and the 14th
session of the Arab Countries League’s cultural committee,
which was held in Cairo on the 21st of January 1961.
After Britain had decided to completely withdraw from the
region in 1968, a decree-law No (11) of 1969 was issued to
establish a department for foreign affairs, which then
became the nucleus of the present Ministry of Foreign
The Democratic Process in the State of Qatar
Foundations of building democracy came into existence thanks
to H.H. the Emir’s wise policy, which is based on popular
participation as a single means in order to achieve a
comprehensive development. It aims at building up the state
of the constitution, law and institutions, securing rights
of all citizens, males and females, and aims at equality in
front of the law -in rights and duties- so as to enable them
to build the homeland.
The first outcome of the democratic process in Qatar was:
the start of the election of “Qatar Chamber of Commerce
and Industry “2006, where a business woman became a
member of the Board of Directors of the chamber for the
Then, the election of “The Central Municipal Council”
in 1999 came in agreement with H.H. the Amir’s assurance on
securing the freedom of speech and the citizens’
participation in the management of their affairs. Thus, he
precisely stated in the 26th session of “The
Advisory Council” held on 30-11-1997:
‘The path to the future needs our own vision as a community
in order to: (1) chart its aims, (2) designate its steps,
and (3) to agree on its principles; just as the spirit of
teamwork requires, in such a manner that each and every
person plays the role required. In order to accomplish such
a task, we are to broaden the scope of popular participation
in relation to decision-making and putting it into force.
Thus, elections of the Central Municipal Council and
granting women the right of membership and voting were two
great steps in strengthening the role of popular
participation in practicing both of the executive and
On the 8th of June 2004, H.H. Sheikh Hamad Ibn
Khalifa Al-Thani issued the Permanent Constitution of the
State of Qatar, which was previously approved by 96% of the
Qatari people. This constitution clearly states :(1) the
comprehensive concept of justice, (2) the equality in rights
and duties, and (3) the principle of separation of the three
authorities ,i.e. legislative, judicial and executive
authorities, taking into consideration the supreme interests
of the state.
The Preamble of this Constitution states:
‘We - Hamad Ibn Khalifa Al-Thani, the Amir of the State of
Qatar, have decreeded the following:
‘In realization of our aims to perfect the foundations of
the democratic rule in our well-beloved homeland through the
approval of a permanent constitution for Qatar, which will
establish the principal foundations of society, represent
the popular participation in decision-making and secure the
rights and freedoms of citizens, and recognize our Arab and
Islamic belongingness which we are proud of, and have been
acquainted with the outcomes of the Referendum on the
Permanent Constitution of the State of Qatar on 9th April
2003 and the approval by the landslide majority of citizens
of this Constitution…’
The legislative authority is honored with serious attention
in the Constitution, since there will be prospective
Advisory Council Elections via direct voting and all legally
qualified citizens’ participation in: nomination and voting,
for males and females.
Democracy is a style of rule; consequently, it should
reflect social development level of the society. According
to this objective sense of democracy, the peculiarities of
the society are to be honored and developed in a balanced
gradual manner. This, in turn, does not mean to refuse
visions of the friendly countries concerning democracy and
reform, since we respect and carefully study the others’
opinions in order to adopt what is in the interest of our
At the same time, we do invite others to adopt democracy as
a system of international relations just as we do that on
the interior level of the society. Such system should be
based on the provisions of the international law, mutual
respect and equality between states and peoples in order to
achieve the central objectives of the international
community: peace, security and stability.
By the way, Qatar hosted a number of conferences, meetings
and symposia that were focused on topics such as:
civilizations dialogue, religions dialogue, human rights,
culture and democracies, and free trade. The last conference
was: the Sixth Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free
In the same vein, The General Assembly of the U.N.
graciously received Qatar’s proposal to hold the Sixth
International Conference on New or Restored Democracies in
Doha between 29 Oct. and 1 Nov. 2006, since the IUP
constitutes a principal element in this conference, along
with hosting many activities in the economic, cultural,
health and sports fields.
Qatar became an independent State on the 3rd of September
27 June 1995
His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani assumed the
rule of the State of Qatar in 1995.
The country is covered with an umbrella of free health care
for all citizens, whereas expatriates pay a nominal cost.
The structural body of health services setup offers integral
and comprehensive services that include preventive care,
treatment, rehabilitation and general administration, and
this is from primary health care to general hospitals.
Hamad Medical Corporation
This corporation comprises four hospitals that are
characterized by a high level of specialization. These
hospitals are: Hamad General Hospital, Women’s Hospital, Al-Rumailah
General Hospital and Hospital of Psychiatric Diseases, along
with 21 centers for primary health care in different zones
of the country.
There are around 23 private health complexes and 171 private
clinics in Qatar that offer different medical services,
along with two private specialized hospitals.
Government offices: 7 am to 2 pm.
Private establishments: 8 am to 12 noon, and 4 pm to 8 pm.
Friday and Saturday are the official weekend holidays.
Independence Day: 3rd September.
‘Eid Al-Fitr: at the 1st of Shawwal for four days.
‘Eid al- Adha: starts at the 9th of Zul-Hijjah for five
3 hours + Greenwich Mean Time
+2 hours in summer .
240 Volts + 6% with frequency 50 hertz.
Points of Entry to Qatar
Through the main border point with K.S.A. at Abu Samra.
Via Doha International Airport, Doha City.
Through the ports of Doha and Umm Sa’id. Customs are to be
charged for some goods by “Customs Section” at the points of
The official currency is the Qatari Riyal (QR), which is
divided into 100 dirhams. It issued by Qatar Central Bank.
Denominations of QR include: one riyal, 5 riyals, 10 riyals,
100 riyals, 50 riyals and 500 riyals. There are coins of 50
dirhams and 25 dirhams.
The Exchange parity has been set at the fixed rate of US $ =
There are no restrictions on money transfer or exchange in
Qatar, whether in banks or exchange centers. However, one is
required to produce his/her ID Card in case of transferring
an amount that exceeds US$ 3000.
The Complex of Central Post, situated
in the Western Gulf in Doha,
all modern postal services. It has several branches in
different zones of Doha.
Postage rates for local and international normal letters are
- Inside Qatar: QR 00.50
- GCC countries: QR 00.75
- Arab countries: QR 01.00
- Europe: QR 02.00
- USA, Australia and East Asia: QR 02.00
* There will be additional charges for registered letters.
Entry Regulations to Qatar
All entrants to Qatar must be in possession of a valid visa.
The Organizing Committee of the Sixth International
Conference of New or Restored Democracies -6 shall make the
entry visas available via Qatari Embassies, E-government
site:http://www.E-Gov.qa, Qatar Airways or upon arrival at
Doha Airport. Thus, the participating delegations are kindly
requested to fill in the attached forms and to enclose
passport photograph of the participants.
As for visa on arrival at Doha Airport, this applies only
for the following countries:
Britain, France, Germany, USA, Italy, Canada, Australia, New
Zealand, Japan, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg,
Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal,
Ireland, Greece, Finland, Spain, Monaco, The Vatican,
Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Brunei,
Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
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