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Doha ( , or ) is the capital city of the state of Qatarmarker. Located on the Persian Gulfmarker, it had a population of 998,651 in 2008,, and is also one of the municipalities of Qatar. Doha is Qatar's largest city, with over 80% of the nation's population residing in Doha or its surrounding suburbs, and is also the economic center of the country.

Doha also serves as the seat of government of Qatar, which is ruled by Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Doha is home to the Education Citymarker, an area devoted to research and education. Doha was the site of the first ministerial-level meeting of the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization negotiations. The city of Doha also held the 2006 Asian Gamesmarker, which was the largest Asian Games ever held.

History

The Emiri Diwan.
1825, the city of Doha was founded under the name Al-Bida. The name "Doha" came from the Arabic ad-dawha, "the big tree." The reference is to a prominent tree that must have stood at the site where the original fishing village arose, on the eastern coast of the Qatar peninsula.it might have been derived from "dohat" ,Arabic for bay or gulf,referring to the doha bay area surrounding corniche. In 1825, during the war between Qatar and Bahrainmarker, Doha had been severely damaged and Abu Dhabi was helping Bahrain. The following year, the Ottomons made Sheikh Thani bin Muhammed the Hakim of Doha, and he ultimately became Hakim of Qatar. In 1882, al Rayyan built the Al Wajbah fortress, in southwestern Doha. The following year, Sheikh Qassim led a Qatari army to victory against the Ottomans.

The city was made capital of the Britishmarker protectorate of Qatar in 1916, and when the nation gained independence in 1971, Doha remained the capital of Qatar. The British placed the Al Thani family in control as they were traditionally the administrators and clerks of the city, much to the distaste of another prominent family; the Al Kawaris. Based in Al Wakra, Al Kawari claimed to be descendant the "first son" of Muhammed, and rightful rulers. This claim was backed up by the fact that "Thani" of course is derived from the Arabic word for two, "Ethnain", and as a result they were more entitled to the throne than the Al Thani family. However such a claim has never been proven.

In 1917, the Al Kout fortress, which is located in the center of the city, was built by Sheikh Abdulla Bin Qassim Al-Thani. Still, during the early 20th century, much of Qatar's economy depended on fishing and pearling, and Doha had about 350 pearling boats. However, after the introduction of the Japanese cultured pearls in the 1930s, the whole region, including the town of Doha, suffered a major depression and Qatar became a poor country, plunged into poverty. This lasted until in the late 1930s, when oil was discovered. However, the exploration and exportation was halted due to the second world war. Today the nation as a whole produces over 800,000 barrels of oil daily. In 1969, the Government House opened. Today it is considered to be Qatar's most prominent landmark.

In 1973 the University of Qatar opened, and in 1975 the Qatar National Museummarker opened in what was originally the ruler's palace in 1912. The Al Jazeera Arabic satellite television news channel began broadcasting in 1996, with headquarters and broadcast center in Doha. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani currently rules in what some consider to be Qatar's most beautiful city.

Climate

Doha features an arid climate. It is situated in the Arabian Peninsula, and as such its climate is very hot. Temperatures average over 40 degrees Celsius (104 °F) from May to September, and humidity is variable. Dewpoints can reach above 25 degrees Celsius in the summer. During the summer months, the city averages almost no precipitation, and less than an inch (25 mm) during other months. Rainfall is scarce (average 70 mm per year), falling on isolated days mostly between October to March. During cool winter nights the temperature can rarely drop below 7 degrees Celsius.

Demographics

The demography of Doha is unusual in that the majority of residents are expatriates, with Qatarimarker nationals forming a minority. The largest portion of expatriates in Qatar are from South Asian countries, mainly Pakistanmarker, Indiamarker, Srilankamarker, Nepalmarker, Philippinesmarker, Bangladeshmarker and Indonesiamarker, with large amounts of expatriates also coming from the Levant Arab countries, North Africa, and East Asia. Doha is also home to expatriates from the United Statesmarker, Canadamarker, Francemarker, South Africa, United Kingdommarker, and Australia as well as many other countries from all over the world.

In the past, expatriates in Qatar were not allowed to own land; however, now people who are not Qatari citizens can buy land in several areas of Doha, including the West Bay Lagoon, the Qatar Pearlmarker and the new Lusail Citymarker. Ownership by foreigners in Qatar entitles them to a renewable residency permit, which allows them to live and work in Qatar.

Each month tens of thousands emigrate to Qatar, and as a result, Doha has witnessed explosive growth rates in population. Doha's population currently stands at around one million , with the population of the city more than doubling in the past decade. Due to the high influx of expatriates, the Qatari housing market saw a shortage of supply which led to a rise in prices and increased inflation. The gap in the housing market between supply and demand has narrowed however, and property prices have fallen in some areas following a period which saw rents triple in some areas .

Several churches have recently been constructed in Doha following decrees by the Emir for the allocation of land to churches. In March 2008, the first Catholic Church in Doha, Our Lady of the Rosary, was opened. As a sign of respect to the local population Christian symbols are not displayed on the outside of the building. Today, several churches exist in Doha, including the Malankara Orthodox Church, Marthomite Church, CSI Church, Syro-Malankara Church and the Pentecostal Church.

Year Population Metro
1986 217,294
1992 313,639
2001 299,300
2004 339,847 612,707
2005 400,051
2008 998,651


Districts

The following is a list of some of Doha's more prominent districts:



Economy

of Qatar's oil and natural gas wealth is visible in Doha, which is the economic centre of Qatar. Doha is home to the headquarters of the country's largest oil and gas companies, including Qatar Petroleum, Qatargas and RasGas. Doha's economy is built on the revenue the country has made from its oil and natural gas industries, and the Qatari government is rapidly trying to diversify the Qatari economy in order to move away from this dependence on oil. As a result, Doha is currently experiencing a very large boom, with the city developing very rapidly - this is mostly the result of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa's modernization program.

Like the nearby city of Dubaimarker in the United Arab Emiratesmarker, Doha's economy is moving away from its dependency on the oil and natural gas industries, although unlike Dubai, Doha's main focus is not tourism. Doha is seeing huge amounts of growth, with the population of the city increasing by more than 60,000 between 2004 and 2006; this has caused a boom in the real estate sector, with real estate prices skyrocketing . According to the BBC, as of late January 2007, Doha is now a more expensive city than Dubai in terms of real estate prices. This rate of growth has led to projects such as the Lusail Citymarker project, which is being constructed north of Doha and will eventually house 200,000 people. Construction is also booming in Doha, a result of increasing corporate and commercial activity in Doha. This is most visible with the changing skyline of the city, as Doha has over 50 towers currently being constructed, the largest of which is the Dubai Towersmarker. At the same time, 39 new hotels are joining Qatarmarker's booming tourism market, adding about 9,000 new rooms by 2009.

Qatar Airways is headquartered in the Qatar Airways Tower in Doha.

Some key projects in Doha include:

Transportation

Corniche Street
By air, Doha is currently served by the Doha International Airportmarker, Qatar's only international airport. The airport is the hub of Qatar Airways, a leading regional airline that has recently witnessed a huge expansion. The current airport's facilities have been expanded numerous times in the last decade, but because of the airport's proximity to the city, space for expansion is limited. As a result, a new airport, the New Doha International Airportmarker, is being constructed east of the current airport. The new airport is expected to have a final capacity of 50 million passengers upon completion of its final phase in 2015, and the airport is expected to solve all of the problems currently faced by the current airport. The new airport, at more than 2,000 hectares, will be one of the largest in the world.

Doha has an excellent road network which is currently undergoing vast upgrades, including the construction of many highways. The largest such highway under construction is the Doha expressway. Doha has an extensive bus system operated by the Mowasalat company, which also operates taxis under its Karwa brand. The main mode of transport in Doha, however, is the car, as the bus system is mostly used by the lower-income groups of the country, and there is no metro system operating in the city, although there are plans for the construction of such a system.

The Doha Port is among the country's largest ports, and is located just off the Doha Corniche. The port is the main seaport servicing Doha, although plans for a new port are underway due to the port's location in central Doha and the resultant traffic and pollution problems, the proposed location of the port is near the town of Al Wakra, just south of the New Doha airport.

Education

Education has been a major focus of the Qatari government in recent years. In addition to Qatar University, established in 1973, the government has solicited other universities to establish campuses in Doha, most notably at Education Citymarker.

Education Citymarker is one of the main project of the non-profit organization Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. It has also launched the World Innovation Summit for Education - WISE - a global forum that brings together education stakeholders, opinion leaders and decision makers from all over the world to discuss educational issues. The first edition will be held in Doha, Qatarmarker from November 16th to 18th 2009.

A key player in the educational field in Qatar is the Supreme Council of Communication and Information Technology ictQATAR. Through its e-education program, ictQATAR is bringing together the power of education and ICT in Qatar.

Doha is also home to many international schools established for its expatriate communities, with dozens of different private schools currently operating in the city, such as Qatar Academy, Qatar International School, The American School of Doha, Doha College, DeBakey High School for Health Professions at Qatar, The Qatar Canadian School, Philippine School Doha, Bangladesh M.H.M High School & College, Doha-Qatar and The MES Indian School.

Universities/colleges within Education Citymarker: (See Education Citymarker)

Other Universities/colleges around Doha:

Sports

Doha is home to a number of sports stadiums, many of which were renovated in preparation for the 15th Asian Gamesmarker, held in December 2006, which Doha spent $2.8 billion for preparation. Doha also hosted the 3rd West Asian Games in December 2005. Doha is also expected to host the 2011 Asian Indoor Games; Doha will also host the finals for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. Qatar is aiming to be the region's sports capital.Doha's major football club are Doha Red Feet - who play at the 22,000 capacity Grand Marha Stadium. They are managed by ex Everton player Roger Kenyon.

Sports venues in Doha and its suburbs include:

ASPIRE Academymarker, launched in 2004, is a sports academy which aims to create world-class athletes. It is situated in the Doha Sports Citymarker Complex, which also includes the Khalifa International Stadium, the Hamad Aquatic Centre and the Aspire Towermarker.

The MotoGP motorcycling grand prix of Doha is held annually at Losail International Circuitmarker, located just north of the city.

Under-construction stadiums/sport facilities:

The Wall Stadium would become the world's largest underground stadium, dwarfing the Fjellhallenmarker ice-hockey arena in Norway, and would be the main venue for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. The stadium is estimated to cost 20 million dollars. The stadium will have the latest technology and roads leading to the stadium will be easy. While the New Paralympic stadium south of the new City of Lusail will be the most advance Paralympic stadium.

In 2001 Qatar also became the first country in the Middle East to hold a women’s tennis tournament: Qatar holds both the Qatar Open for Women and the ladies ITF tournament. Since 2008 and at least for 3 years, the Sony Ericsson Championships (equivalent to the ATP's season-ending Championships) takes place in Doha, in the Khalifa International Tennis Complex, and features record prize money of $4.45 million (check of $1,485,000 for the winner, which represents the largest single guaranteed payout in women's tennis today ).

Doha submitted a bid for the 2016 Olympics. It already had more than 70% of the venues ready that were used during the Asian Games in 2006. If Doha had won, an olympic village would have been constructed and would have had the shape of a dove and been 67 hectares in size with a capacity of 18,000 people, housing officials, athletes and coaches. (See Doha 2016 Olympic bid) On June 4, 2008, the city was eliminated from the shortlist for the 2016 Olympic Games.

In November 2009, Doha will host the The Oryx Cup World Championship. This is a hydroplane boat race in the H1 Unlimited season. The race will take place in Doha Bay on the Persian Gulfmarker . The H1 Unlimited and the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) agreed to have the final race of the 2009 H1 Unlimited unlimited hydroplane season in Doha. Ten of the fastest racing boats in the world will travel to Doha November 2009 for the inaugural Oryx Cup event—the H1 Unlimited World Championship—as a result of an Agreement in Principal reached January 9 between the ABRA and the QMSF.

In May 2009, Qatar placed a bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, seeking to bring the event to the region for the first time. As a result of Qatar's harsh summers and the small population of the country, the bid contains several unique elements which are unprecedented in World Cup history. The bid proposes that all stadiums constructed to host the World Cup would be built as air conditioned indoor venues should Qatar win the bid, in order to ensure that the event can be held in summer. Furthermore, the bid proposes that all venues would be located within Doha, as Qatar's other cities and towns are too small to be capable of handling the influx of people which accompanies the World Cup.

Twin towns



See also



References

External links






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