Doha, meaning ‘the big tree’ or ‘the sticky tree’, is located on the Arabian Gulf and is the capital city of Qatar. Apart from being the political and commercial hub of the country, it has carved a distinct niche for itself in the games arena as well by hosting the Asian Games in 2006 and preparing to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Being one of the most rapidly developing areas in the region, it is characterized by a contemporary essence and is well headed on the path to be counted as one of the leading cities in the Middle East.
Its location on the Arabian Peninsula implies a hot and arid climate with variable humidity and temperatures remaining above 38 degrees centigrade for most part of the summer months. Other salient features of the weather are mild winters, scarce rainfall and soaring summer temperatures.
As a city, Doha is hardly accessible through road since the only road leading out of the country goes to Saudi Arabia and traveling on it is fraught with custom and visa hassles. Although there are plans to construct bridges connecting Doha with its immediate neighbours, these are still in their gestational phases and the only alternative left with a tourist is to land at the Doha International Airport. From here not only is it possible to travel to any well known city of the world courtesy of the local Qatar Airways but is also possible to break the journey in Dubai or Sharjah before proceeding further.
Comparatively, the city boasts of a good transportation system and while budget travellers might depend on buses and taxis, the financially comfortable tourists could opt for car hiring services. The buses follow six routes and are operated by Mowasalat, who also happen to be in-charge of the Karwa taxis.
Legend has it that Doha was originally a fishing village which came into being in 1825 and was then known as Al-Bida. The name Doha was coined later on either to commemorate a prominent tree which graced the town or was derived from the Arabic word ‘dohat’ meaning bay or gulf. Al-Bida, as an ancient city, finds mention in British documents dated 1765 and after having gone through a series of battles with the British as well as the neighbouring Bahrain, Doha was formally declared as being the capital of the British Protectorate Qatar in 1916. It was in 1971 that the nation gained independence from the British rule and Doha soon established its own identity as one of the richest and well endowed cities of the world.
Due to the presence of large natural reserves of oil and gas, most of the prominent oil and natural gas companies have their corporate offices in Doha. There was a time in recent past when Doha, like its neighbour Dubai, was dependent on oil and natural gas industries for maximum percentage of its revenue, but now this focus has shifted to real estate. Tourism is obviously one of the major contributors to the city’s coffers but it is construction which is the leading corporate and commercial activity.