Guide to Qatar: Basic Information

Qatar is considered as one of the richest countries in the world, mainly because it contains the world’s third-largest natural gas and oil reserves. It is the country with the highest per capita income and is widely regarded as the most advanced Arab state for human development.

According to The Telegraph, Qatar is also a country that possesses the world’s greatest airline and is the safest country on Earth because it is where disasters are least likely to strike.

Want to learn more about this prestigious country? Here are some basic information about Qatar.

Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world.

Know More About Qatar

Qatar is a sovereign state in the Middle East. After being under the British protectorate in the early 20th century, it finally gained its independence in 1971 and from then on, Qatar has become one of the most prominent in the oil and gas production industries.

Geography. Qatar is a peninsula located on the western shore of the Arabian Gulf. It occupies an area of approximately 11,521 square kilometers. It shares its southern border with Saudi Arabia and the rest of its territory is surrounded by the Persian Gulf. It shares its maritime border with Bahrain (northwest), with Iran (northeast) and with the United Arab Emirates (south).

Doha is the capital of Qatar and one of its major cities. Other major cities include Al Wakrah, Al Khr, Dukhan, Al Shamal and Ras Lafan.

Topography. Qatar land is mainly flat and rocky. Smooth plains covered by fine-grained dust are found in the east; elevated limestone formations in the west and north; sand dunes and salt flats in the south and southwest part; and massive sand dunes surrounding inland seas (Khors) in the southeast. The northern and middle areas are considered to be the most fertile lands in Qatar housing various natural plants.

Climate. Qatar has a desert climate with intensely hot summers, warm winters and scarce rainfall. During spring and autumn, the temperatures in Qatar are warm but not hot and the evenings can be pleasantly cool. The months from June to September are the times when the temperature is intensely hot.

Demographics. According to Worldometers, the current population of Qatar is 2,692,915 and is equivalent to 0.04% of the total world population. Majority of its population live in Doha. 88% of the population is comprised of foreign workers which include Indians, Nepalis, Bangladeshis, Filipinos, Egyptians, Sri Lankans, and Pakistanis, among many other nationalities.

Government. Under the 2003 Qatari constitutional referendum, the political system of Qatar is a constitutional monarchy and is governed by the Al Thani family. The head of the state is called an Emir and currently, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani is the Emir of Qatar. The right to rule Qatar is passed on within the ruling Al Thani family only. The main source of the Qatari legislation is the Sharia Law or the Islamic Law.

HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar
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Language. Arabic is the official language of Qatar. English is commonly used as a second language and is the lingua franca of business. Qatari Sign Language is the language of the deaf community. Hindu and Urdu are also widely spoken, especially by South Asian foreign workers.

Religion. Islam is the official religion of the State of Qatar. Islam is Qatar’s predominant religion and is the official status of Qatar. However, it is not the only religion practiced in the country. The Christian population is composed almost entirely of foreigners.

Dress Code. Qatar is an Islamic country, therefore, people dress in a very traditional manner and foreign visitors are recommended to dress in a manner that is sensitive to the Islamic culture. Modest clothes and conservative clothing are recommended especially when going to public places such as malls and parks and during the Holy Fasting month of Ramadan.

Currency. The Qatari Riyal is the currency of the state of Qatar. 1 Qatari Riyal is equivalent to 100 dirhams. The Riyal is pegged to the US Dollar (US $1 = QAR 3.65).

Official Holidays. Qatar National Holiday is annually held every 18th day of December in commemoration of the founder of that State of Qatar, Sheikh Jassim Bin Mohammad Al-Thani. Other official holidays include National Sports Day (every 2nd Tuesday of the second week of February), Eid Al-Ftr and Eid Al-Adha.

Qatari Cuisine. The national dish in Qatar is the Machbūs (Machbous), a meal consisting of rice, meat and vegetables and a local variation of kabsa. The staple food items in the country are seafood and dates. The main dishes in the Qatari cuisine include Qatari machbous (rice, meat, onions and tomatoes mixed with spices), kabsa (rice, meat, and vegetables mixed with spices), balalet (noodles cooked with sugar, cinnamon, saffron and cardamom) and ghuzi (whole roast lamb served over nutty rice).

Dates are a staple food item in Qatar.

These are only some of the things that you might want to know about Qatar. If you are planning to visit this rich country, or if you are planning to work here, you can check out the Visit Qatar website for more information.