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is the capital city of Qatar
and the seat of Government. It includes the country’s main sea port and international airport. It is Qatar
’s cultural, commercial and financial centre, with a population of approximately 380,000.
Evidence of early habitation in Qatar that can be traced as far back as to the 4th century BC has appeared in many artifacts such as inscriptions, rock carvings, flint spearheads and examples of pottery which were all uncovered by the Danish (1965), the British (1973) and the French (1976) expeditions.
In the 5th century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus referred to the seafaring Canaanites as the original inhabitants of Qatar.
In the Islamic history in the middle of the 7th century AD, the Qatar peninsula and the surrounding region were under the rule of the Al Munzir Arabs. Their king, al-Munzir Ibn Sawi al-Tamimi embraced Islam and Qatar entered the realm of Islamic civilisation and has participated in all its successive stages and eras.
Qatar is a sovereign and independent Arab state, Islam is the official religion of the country and the Shariah (Islamic Law) is the principal source of legislation. Democracy is the basis for the system of government. The official language is Arabic and the Qatari people are part of the Arab nation.
The political system of Qatar is an absolute monarchy, with the Emir of Qatar as head of state and head of government. Under the 2003 constitutional referendum it should become a constitutional monarchy. In November 2011, Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani announced the first legislative election to take place in 2013, following a series of postponements.
Oil was discovered in Qatar in 1939, but development only got under way in 1949. Production reached a cyclical peak of 530,000 barrels a day (b/d) in 1973. Important discoveries have given new life to the sector, and reserves are now 15,200 million barrels, according to figures published by British Petroleum in June 2002. The second element of Qatar's energy sector is natural gas. Qatar is now the world's largest LPG exporter.
Western children have the options of attending international schools located in Doha.
These include the Middle East International School which teaches a North American curriculum.
The Qatar International School and the Doha English Speaking School teach the British National Curriculum.
The Qatar Academy teaches the International Baccalaureate at Primary, Middle years and Diploma level.
Most employers provide private healthcare as part of an employment package.
Qatar has modern public and private healthcare facilities. The major public sector facilities include the Hamad Medical Corporation which operates the Hamad General Hospital. At the HMC facilities, medical and dental treatment is free for Qatari's and heavily state-subsidized for expatriates. To use the facilities, residents and visitors are required to apply for a QR100 health card, which allows them to pay small charges for various tests and consultations as well as a nominal fee for in-patient care.
Major public hospitals include:
The Women’s Hospital
Most expatriates live in apartment blocks or villa style housing, with some living in employer-owned gated compounds. If an employer does not provide company housing, you can refer to the following leasing agents or websites.
Qatar is regarded as a very safe location, has a negligible crime rate and whilst conservative, is very tolerant of western expatriates.
Any expatriate employee or family member who respects local culture and custom and takes appropriate precautions generally has few security concerns.
Tourism & Recreation
There are a wide variety of activities centred around Doha and recreational clubs offer their members many sports and leisure facilities. To explore the natural environment, take an exciting desert safari, relax at the many beaches and pool facilities, or enjoy your favourite sport. Golf courses, racing and equestrian clubs abound. There are bowling alleys, tennis and squash facilities and ice skating rinks. Whatever your interest, there is something for everyone.
Situated inside Khalifa Complex for Tennis and Squash, it offers its members many sports and recreational facilities such as open and indoor tennis grounds.
Doha Golf Club
Due to a good location and spectacular services, Doha Golf Club boasts one of the finest golf courses in the Middle East. This made it the focus of international attention and a suitable venue for Qatar Masters Golf Tournament, with entries from Japan, America and Europe.
The Diplomatic Club
This prestigious club lies in the West Bay area and offers its members luxurious facilities such as a gymnasium for various sports activities, a businessmen meeting hall and an all-purpose hall that can accommodate up to 400 people. There are also tennis and squash courts, a library, a beauty centre and restaurants.
Racing and Equestrian Club
The club has both grass and sand tracks, and dressage courts for camel and horse championships.
Further information is available at the following websites.
Qatar Tourism Authority