Qatar is a unique destination for expats, with a rich culture, diverse activities and attraction spots.
1 November 2016| Last updated on 19 September 2018
Just over a decade ago, you might not have heard much about Qatar. Doha has transformed into a world-class city, with iconic architecture, some of the finest culinary spots and spectacular skylines. Here are some interesting facts about Qatar that you might not know!
1. Camel racing is a popular attraction and sport. It’s a rather costly leisure activity that only a few can afford. Up until 2004, children were used as jockeys, however, due to safety concerns, that practice was banned. Remote-controlled robot jockeys are now used to ride the camels during the races.
2. Qatar will be the host of the FIFA World Cup in 2022. It will be the first Middle Eastern country to host the tournament. Due to the intense heat of the summers there, the World Cup won’t be held in June or July as usual, but in November to December instead. There are major preparations happening in the country, including 9 new stadiums being constructed.
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3. Petrol is extremely cheap. A standard car would cost around QR 50 to fill up a tank with premium petrol. Qatar has the highest GDP per capita in the world as well as being the biggest exporter of liquid gas. The country’s oil and gas revenues are a huge contributing factor to its GDP.
4. Since Qatar is an Islamic country, the weekends fall on Fridays and Saturdays. Due to the Friday afternoon prayer, most stores are closed in the mornings.
5. Camping on the beach or in the desert is a popular activity for those who enjoy the outdoors. Dune bashing is also quite common at the Sealine Beach in Mesajeed.
6. Karak tea is the most popular traditional beverage among the locals. It’s a milky tea infused with cardamom. Some of the best spots to enjoy this beverage include Tea Time, Baba Chapatea, and Chapati & Karak.
7. Film and music buffs can enjoy several events throughout the year. The Doha Film Institute screens various independent and popular films. Classic music lovers should check out the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra in Katara’s Open House as well as open-air concerts on some weekends at the Museum of Islamic Art Park.
8. The MotoGP, the motorcycle racing World Championship, is hosted every year at the Losail International Circuit, located north of Doha.
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9. The Pearl Qatar, a luxury development, is built on a man-made island and it’s shaped as a string of pearls. It got its name due to being built on top of an old pearl diving site.
10. Qatar has a diverse variety of wildlife. Purple Island, for instance, is full of beautiful mangroves, birds, fish and crabs. Depending on the seasons, there are some unique birds that migrate to the area.