Arabian Campus


Programs in Qatar Universities & Colleges in Qatar Schools - KG to 12 in Qatar Training Institutes in Qatar  
Education System
Studying in Qatar
Getting to Qatar
Living in Qatar
LIST OF Embassies
Other Links

Study in Qatar - About Qatar




General Information

Qatar has transformed due to vast oil and gas reserves from an impoverished outcrop on the Arabian Peninsula into one of the richest countries in the world. 

In previous years, Qatar was best known for being unknown, Qatar had a habit of falling off the outside world's radar screens.

Most foreign maps of Arabia drawn before the 19th century don't show the Qatar peninsula, and most people in the West don't even know where it is. Fewer still can pronounce it (somewhere in between 'cutter' and 'gutter,' rather than rhyming with 'guitar').

Previously not among the world's hottest tourist destinations, it only began issuing tourist visas in 1989, but after a slow start Qatar has begun to reap the benefits of its new openness. Though it's still a far cry from the tourist centres of the Middle East, Qatar is definitely worth a look. It's considered safe and secure for foreigners although demonstrations and other political gatherings are best avoided.


Area: 11,437 sq km (4416 sq miles)

Population: 579,200 (2000)

Population Density: 50.6 per sq km

Capital: Doha

Independence: Gained independence from the UK in 1971

Ethnicity/Race: Most Qataris are Arabs; some have Iranian or African ancestry. Large foreign communities of Indians, Iranians, Pakistanis, and Egyptians. Other groups include Filipinos, Bangladeshis, Sudanese, Afghans, other Arabs, Sri Lankans, and Westerners, mostly British.

Map of Qatar
Courtesy of Google Maps

View Larger Map
Language: Arabic is the official language of Qatar and Islam is the official religion with both contributing greatly to the Nation’s cultural identity. The Arab heritage and the Islamic religion are present in the local modes of dress, culinary styles, architecture and art.

English is widely used in everyday life and a majority of businesses are capable of completing transactions and services using English.

Currency: Qatari Riyal (QR) = 100 dirhams. Notes are in denominations of QR500, 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1. Coins are in denominations of 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 dirhams; however, only the 50 and 25 coins are in wide circulation, minting of the rest ceased in the 1970s.

Religion: Islam. Mosques are located all over the country for daily worship, from which calls to prayer are announced throughout the day.

Time: GMT + 3.

Electricity: 220-240 volts AC, 50Hz.

Welcome to Qatar

A Beautiful Video About Qatar (Video in English)

Video by Qatar Tourism



Qatar is an oil-rich peninsula jutting out into the Gulf between Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. There are hills in the northwest, but the rest of the country consists of sand dunes and salt flats, with scattered vegetation towards the north.

Geography: Qatar occupies 11,437 square kilometers on a peninsula that extends approximately 160 kilometers north into the Persian Gulf from the Arabian Peninsula. Varying in width between fifty-five and ninety kilometers, the land is mainly flat (the highest point is 103 meters) and rocky.

Notable features include coastal salt pans, elevated limestone formations (the Dukhan anticline) along the west coast under which lies the Dukhan oil field, and massive sand dunes surrounding Khawr al Udayd, an inlet of the gulf in the southeast known to local English speakers as the Inland Sea. Of the islands belonging to Qatar, Halul is the most important. Lying about ninety kilometers east of Doha, it serves as a storage area and loading terminal for oil from the surrounding offshore fields. Hawar and the adjacent islands immediately off the west coast are the subject of a territorial dispute between Qatar and Bahrain.

The capital, Doha, is located on the central east coast on a sweeping (if shallow) harbor.

Port of Doha:

Other ports include Umm Said, Al Khawr, and Al Wakrah.

Only Doha and Umm Said are capable of handling commercial shipping

And a large port and a terminal for loading natural gas are located at Ras Laffan, north of Al Khawr. Website:

Coral reefs and shallow coastal waters make navigation difficult in areas where channels have not been dredged.

Qatar shares its land border with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with which in 1993 it continued to have a dispute in the Khawr al Udayd area. The boundary with Saudi Arabia was settled in 1965 but never demarcated. Qatar's northwest coast is fewer than thirty kilometers from Bahrain.

Doha is the capital of the country and the major administrative, commercial, and population center. In 1993 it was linked to other towns and development sites by a system of about 1,000 kilometers of paved roads.

Doha's international airport has an approximately 4,500-meter main runway, capable of receiving all kinds of aircraft.

Doha International Airport

P.O. Box 24659
Doha, Qatar
Telephone:  +974 4 465 6666
Fax:  +974 4 462 2044



Doha International Airport Website

The long summer (June through September) is characterized by intense heat and alternating dryness and humidity, with temperatures 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, violent dust storms occasionally descend on the peninsula, blotting out the sun, causing wind damage, and momentarily disrupting transport and other services.

The scarcity of rainfall and the limited underground water, most of which has such a high mineral content that it is unsuitable for drinking or irrigation, restricted the population and the extent of agricultural and industrial development the country could support until desalination projects began. Although water continues to be provided from underground sources, most is obtained by desalination of seawater.

Climate: The country has a hot desert climate with temperatures ranging between 25 and 46 degrees Centigrade during the summer, with high humidity in coastal cities and towns. The months of April, May, October and November tend to be the most temperate.

Geology: Qatar generally consists of flat rocky surfaces. It does, however, include some hills and sand dunes which reach an altitude of 40m above sea level in the western and northern parts of the country.
Qatar is characterized by a number of geographical features which are peculiar to the western side of the Arabian Gulf. These include rainwater-draining basins found mainly in the north and central areas of the country. These two areas are considered the most fertile and have attracted heavy agricultural investment.


Qatar Government

The arrival in Qatar of the Al-Thani family goes back to the eighteenth century. The name of Al-Thani is derived from that of the family's ancestor Thani Bin Mohamad, father of Mohamad Bin Thani who was the first Sheikh to rule over the Qatar peninsula during the mid 19th Century. The family is a branch of the ancient Arab tribe, the Bani Tameem.

H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar

H.H. Sheikh Jassem Bin Hamad Al-Thani, Heir Apparent

H.H. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Prime Minister / Minister of Interior

The Emir is H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who took over the reigns of power on 27th of June 1995. On October 22nd 1996, H.H. The Emir announced the appointment of his fourth son H.H. Sheikh Jassem Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani as Heir Apparent.

On the 28th of October 1996, and following the issue of an Emiri Decision amending some parts of the Basic Temporary Amended Statutes of the Rule of the State, H.H. the Emir took the step of separating the post of Prime Minister from that of the Emir and appointed H.H. Sheikh Abdulla Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, as Premier. HH Sheikh Abdullah retains his portfolio as Interior Minister in the current Cabinet.

Advisory Council
The Advisory Council comprising of notable senior members of Qatari society, was convened for the first time on 15th May 1972. The Council advises on and reviews proposals related to State affairs and legislation.

Government Structure

Government: Ruler is H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir since 1995. Heir apparent, H.H. Sheikh Jassem Bin Hamad Al-Thani. Government structure based on 1970 provisional constitution with Council of Ministers and Advisory Council.

Politics: Power held by Emir and Royal Family. Political parties banned, and no open opposition tolerated.

Foreign Relations: Closely allied with Saudi Arabia on regional and global issues. Foreign policy efforts channeled through Gulf Cooperation Council and other organizations, such as Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, and Organization of the Islamic Conference. Member of United Nations and League of Arab States.

Head of State and Government: Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani since 1995.

Consultative Assembly (Shura) is composed of 35 appointed members having only consultative duties. The Consultative Assembly is not elected but it is not democratic either.

Under Qatar's 2003 constitution, 30 of the Legislative Council's 45 members will be elected and the remaining 15 appointed by the Emir. The first actual election will take place in 2013.


Heritage and Culture

Heritage and Traditions of Qatar


At one point of time, fishing and pearling formed the mainstay for the economic activity of Qatar. Whilst the development of the cultured pearls industry led to a sharp decline in the market of natural pearls though fishing continues to be the livelihood for some and sports for others.

Rod and line fishing from shore and from a boat is quite popular amongst the expatriates, locals still use the nets, traps and the basic handlines. For fishing from the shore, Qataris use different techniques: the throw-nets are often used to cover small areas teeming with fish.; long nets are staked out in the shallow and both nets and stones were used to make inter tidal traps close to the shore. Often from the beaches you will see dark lines of stone ‘Maskar’. The long low limestone block walls and narrow twisted entrance channel allows the fish to swim in at high tide, but leaves them stranded as the water recedes at low tide. Amongst the other traditional traps are the ‘Hazra’ and ‘Gargour’ which were originally made from palm fronds, woven like oval baskets. They are then baited and laid on the sea bed overnight, their circular entrances leading through narrowing cone to the interior. The common fishes prominent around the year are Barracuda, Cobia, Channad, Talang, Banded Travelly, Pompano, Yellow fin tuna.


In the erstwhile, pearling was not just a job but a profession and a way of life, and whole villages would depend upon the success of the pearling ‘season’ until Japanese got the world introduced to the cultured pearls. After this Qatar’s pearl industry suffered tremendously.

Pearls have been used as jewelry and adorn the clothes of women for hundreds of years, but their collection cost the lives of sailors and divers, and the families were left for months on end without a provider as the men of the household went to sea during each extended pearling season. Life at sea was no joke either. For days the divers had to survive on dates and coffee for breakfast and lunch and a slightly substantial meal of rice and fish in the evening.

The divers of those times used very little equipment nose-clips ‘fetam’ made from turtle shell; rope baskets made from ‘dayyeen’ to collect the oysters; curved-blade knives to open the oyster shells; finger-tip covers made of leather to prevent cuts; weights tied to their hands to help them sink to the sea bed; and two ropes to the surfaces – one to hoist the full baskets of oysters and other used as a their safety line to dhow. These divers had incredible stamina, without any breathing apparatus they would dive for two minutes upto the depths of 12 meters. With the constant starving brain of oxygen led to many health hazards. Divers would harvest hundreds of oysters without finding a PEARL. Even after the tough struggle with the sea waters, they were times when these divers would return home with no earnings to show for their Hard Work.

Though, this profession had suffered a setback, Natural pearls are beautiful, and are a part of the country’s heritage.

National Dress

Ladies wear a long filmy, rich embroidered over-dresses; the day dresses or ‘Djellabia’ are heavily embroidered at the neck and the cuffs; the black cloaks or ‘Abbayas’; the delicate filmy head coverings called ‘Shayla’, the headscarves; the black, gold and silver decorated ‘Bukhnuq’ worn by young girls to cover their heads and shoulders before they start to wear the abbaya; and the veils and the masks. Other dress is ‘Thobe Al Nashl’, which is heavily embroidered made of finest silk or chiffon. It is a wide rectangular over-garment, which falls in delicate folds when worn. Favorite colors used for this garment are red and purple, green is reserved for weddings.

Men wear long white thobes, the crocheted or embroidered caps are worn under the headdress; the headdress or ‘Ghutra’- which can be plain white, cream cashmere, black and white or red and white checked cotton.; and the black ‘Agal’ which hold the headdress in place.


The weaving of the wool is the oldest and most traditional craft practiced by the Bedouin. It is name for the loom on which the women used to produce the beautiful, functional floor rugs, cushions, camel bags and almost everything that was required for their lifestyle and home. The culture was once woven from either goat hair or sheep wool, gathered from their own livestock. Women would sit on the ground pushing and pulling, beating and plucking creating a thick dense cloth.

There were times when they would achieve the width of 6ft and length as much as 25ft., the weaving was a painstaking job. Rich shades of red, yellow and ochre were used for decorating the walls. The geometric designs made up of horizontal and vertical stripes reflected the Islamic traditions. The dye for the white wool were obtained from the plants.

Traditional Dances

Dancing is the form of expression, which comes on its own on celebratory occasions. Festive season is the most likely time when you will witness folk dancers performing around the country. But most likely one will witness for dances performed by men folk. Amongst the dances – the most popular is the ‘Ardha’ where the dancers will be carrying the ceremonial swords. It is performed on religious holidays like Eid and on special occasions like Independence day or during the Accession Day celebrations of His Highness the Emir. It is a dance to display the unity, strength of a group and is a display of allegiance to the Emir and the society.

The other traditional dance performed in public is ‘Lewa’ a dance performed purely for pleasure and commonly performed at weddings and on religious occasions.

Amongst the women dances are ‘Khammary’, performed by the masked women, it involves the co-ordination of steps with the Music. It has light lyrics, often based on love poems. Other women dances are ‘Sameri’ and ‘Ashouri’, performed on celebratory occasions.

Camel Racing

Desert Bedouin used camels extensively as pack animals as well as for their milk, meat and hair. In Qatar, the camel is still the prized animal but it is the racing camels, which draw most of attention. The Government of Qatar encourages breeding of camels, and regular race meetings are their testing ground. The racecourse is in the Rayyan area. Races are held there on fridays and certain special occasions. Betting is not permitted under Islamic law.



Telephone: IDD is available. Country code: 974. There are no area codes.

Outgoing international code: 0.

Mobile telephone: GSM 900 network exists.

Vodafone Website:

Main network provider is: Q-tel Website:

Fax: Available at some major hotels.

Internet: Main ISPs include Q-tel.

Telegram: The Cable and Wireless Office in Doha (0600-2300) and major hotels provide services.

Post: Airmail to Europe takes up to a week.

Press: Qatar News Agency

Radio Stations:

Qatar Radio (English) 97.5, French Radio (French) 97.5, Sawt al Khaleej (Arabic) 100.8

BBC World Service (website: and Voice of America (website: can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.


Qatar’s based television network: Al Jazeera,

English Website: and

Arabic Website:

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): the only provider is Q-tel



Qatar's Education Blog

Sources: Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Tourism
All Rights Reserved, ©,
Disclaimer       |       About Us       |       CONTACT US        |        Advertising Info