Qatar might be small in size (with an area of 11,571 square kilometers only), but it sure has a great history and is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world. Not only does it have lots of festivals and celebrations, but Qatar also has historical places that are now tourist attractions as well.
If you are new to Qatar and you love sightseeing, here are some of the historic sites that you can visit. These places not only hold aesthetic value, but they also hold significant history in the life of the Qataris as well. Come and discover these amazing historical sites in Qatar!
Learning About Qatar’s Cultural Treasures
Are you interested to learn more about Qatar’s colorful past? You can do so by visiting some of the cultural treasures of Qatar:
Al Koot Fort
Al Koot Fort (also known as Doha Fort) is one of the most stunning examples of the early 20th century architecture in Qatar. Located in the heart of Doha (Qatar’s capital city), Al Koot Fort was built in 1927 and was originally used as a police station to protect the nearby Souq Waqif (standing marketplace). Later on, it was used as a jail.
Al Koot Fort is a square-shaped white fort with three round towers and one rectangular tower at its corners, each crowned with traditional Qatari-style battlements.
The fort has now been converted into a museum and tourist spot where local handicrafts such as glasswork, oil painting and ceramics are exhibited and even offered to visitors. Visitors can also stop and relax at the fountain which is situated outside the fort.
However, if you want to visit Al Koot Fort, you must first make an appointment with the Qatar Museum Authority as the access to the fort is not always open to public.
Al Jassasiya Rock Carvings
Al Jassasiya Rock Carvings is a great site in Qatar for exploring historic rock carvings known as “petroglyphs”. The rock carvings were discovered in 1957 on the north east coast and comprise a total of 874 carvings, the oldest of which is thought to date from Neolithic times. These rock carvings depict various designs and patterns such as cups in rows, rosettes, ship and foot marks.
Although rock carvings can also be found in other areas and coasts of Qatar, Al Jassasiya rock carvings are the most impressive rock carvings to be found in the country.
The best times to visit the rock carvings in Al Jassasiya are during sunrise and sunset, due to the wonderful sight the lighting makes with the rock carvings.
Al Wajba Fort
The Al Wajba Fort is one of the oldest forts in Qatar. It was built in the late 18th or early 19th century. Situated 15 km west of Doha, Al Wajba was residence to the sheikhs (Arab leaders) during various periods of its history. For instance, it was once used as the residence of His Highness Hamad Abdullah Al Thani.
The Al Wajba Fort is also the site where the famous Battle of Al Wajba took place, during which the Qatari forces defeated the Ottomans way back in March 1893.
One of its prominent features is its four looming watch towers, which stand out impressively in stark contrast to everything else in the predominantly flat area. The Al Wajba Fort, as well as the materials it was built with, is a special sight to the visitors.
Visitors are allowed to visit this fort on all days.
Barzan Towers were built between 1910 and 1916 and are located in the suburbs of Doha in the village of Umm Salal Mohammed. Their exact role has never been fully determined, but it is said that the towers may have served as a lookout to protect local water sources and as an observatory to determine the dates of the lunar calendar. The word Barzan means “high place” and it is justified by the height of the towers, which is 16 meters (52.49 ft). As they were built near the seas, it is also thought that the towers were built to serve as a lookout for approaching ships and to monitor local pearl divers.
The buildings were extensively restored in 2003 and since the reopening of the Barzan Towers to the public, the towers are now equipped with air conditioning.
Barzan Towers is open to all visitors 24 hours. They just need to sign in at the gate.
Surely, visiting Qatar will not be a waste! It’s best to visit these sites with your family, friends, or colleagues. Just don’t forget that these places are heritage sites, so always keep in mind the do’s and don’ts as you visit them, so as to preserve the historical value of these sites. Meanwhile, check out these other great places to visit in Qatar!