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Qatar

Qatar

Etymology

Pliny the Elder, a Roman writer, documented the earliest account pertaining to the inhabitants of the Peninsula around the mid-first century AD, referring to them as the Catharrei, a designation which may have derived from the name of a prominent local settlement. A century later, Ptolemy produced the first known map to depict the peninsula, referring to it as Catara. The map also referenced a town named “Cadara” to the east of the peninsula. The term ‘Catara’ (or, alternatively, Cataraei) was exclusively used until the 18th century, after which ‘Katara’ emerged as the most commonly recognized spelling. Eventually, the modern derivative Qatar was adopted as the country’s name. [wikipedia]

Places to Meet People

Places to Meet People

Desert Camping and Other Adventures – This is a group for anyone interested in camping in the desert- or any other fun activity such as dune bashing, grilling, swimming- anything fun to do on the weekends. For desert camping and dune bashing- you don’t need a 4×4, just meet at the rally point and spots in vehicles will be sorted out. [meetup]

Doha Dance Music – This is a group for enthusiasts of all forms of dance music whether it’s 70s Funk, soulful house, deep techno, Hip-Hop and RnB etc, etc we’ll have something for everybody. Where possible we’ll give you guaranteed entry to Doha’s best and newest venues, Dhow Boat parties, reserved VIP areas and where available discounts and complimentary drinks…more than that it’s chance to meet like-minded people who share your love of music, dancing and good times. [meetup]

Doha Ladies Coffee Morning – This group is for ladies that like to chat over coffee and make new friends. We can also be the ladies that lunch. [meetup]

Doha Runners – If you want to start running lets encourage each other and run as a team. [meetup]

eduQation – This group is for having some “edutainment” together in and around Doha and Qatar: visit schools, universities and education-related conferences and presentations, museums, expositions … or just having some fun on a dinner or barbecue or in the desert. Besides, we could also have some virtual meetings and try to explore education 2.0, new methods and platforms for e-learning etc. [meetup]

Ladies Only Friday Lunch Out – This is for ladies who are looking to have a great lunch with some friends Friday afternoons. Hoping for an international group, English speaking. [meetup]

PhD Candidates in Qatar – I am a doctoral candidate with Computer Science as my research area. I have started this group with an aim to create an interactive and informative environment whereby I can discuss the guidelines, requirements, writing styles, and various others details about a research paper with my group members. All the scholars pursuing PhD and those who have completed their doctorate are welcome to join this group. [meetup]

Play Basketball Doha – Anyone who wants to meet up a few times a week and play basketball! [meetup]

How to Find a Date

How to Find a Date

Expatica Qatar – Are you an Expatriate Single in Qatar looking for True Love? No matter what your background is, our Expatriate dating community will help you find your perfect lover. Hundreds of criteria will be automatically checked to ensure you find your Expatriate soulmate. After the quick and free registration process, you will have the opportunity to take a few tests to allow our high-tech system to find the Expatriate singles in your area who match your needs, among a million members database. [qatardating.expatica]

Love Habibi- Qatar Dating – The Web’s favorite place for Qatari dating worldwide. Whether you’re new to this or finding out about LoveHabibi for the first time, signup free today and connect with other people in Qatar looking for free online dating and find your very own LoveHabibi. [love habibi]

Qatar Dating – Since its launch on Valentines Day 1997, RSVP has grown from strength to strength to become the largest singles site in Australia, with over 1,200 new members joining every day. RSVP is a great place for singles to meet other singles. You can search through profiles, message other members, and chat. [rsvp]

Walking Tours

Walking Tours

Doha City Tour – Enrich every step of your journey with a complimentary tour of Doha, courtesy of Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority. Visit four key landmarks including: The Pearl-Qatar, for the finest quality shops and restaurants; Katara Cultural Village, a centre dedicated to celebrating arts and heritage; Souq Waqif, for traditional jewellery, spices and handicrafts; and the Museum of Islamic Art, for its stunning architecture and beautiful seaside park. All of this, while you wait to connect with your next flight. [qatar airways]

Tours in Qatar – You will be picked from your hotel and Drive around the Cornish and view the old Dhow Harbor. Then you will Visit Qatar Museum of Islamic Art, which you can witness houses manuscripts, textiles, ceramics and other works, has emerged as one of the world’s most encyclopedic collections of Islamic art. [tours in qatar]

Free Things to Do

Free Things to Do

Abdul Wahhab Mosque – More commonly known as the State Grand Mosque, this is the largest mosque in Qatar with 90 domes, 18 entrances and capacity for 30,000 people. Built in 2013, it was named after the 18th century Islamic theologian and inaugurated by the Former Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. It is extravagant, yet has managed to retain the simple, clean lines for which Qatari architecture is known. Even though the interior is only accessible to Muslims, the exterior is well worth a look. The best photos are taken at dusk and after the sun has set and the best time to visit is for Friday morning prayers. [the telegraph travel]

Al Zubarah Town and Fort – Recently named a UNESCO World Heritage site, this coastal town is the only remaining example of a complete Arabian pearl merchant town and one of 6,000 archaeological and heritage sites in Qatar. Just over an hour’s drive from Doha, the town was founded in the mid-1700’s as a fishing and pearling town and was built on a sabkha (salt flat) with no nearby fresh water source. View the active Qatar Museums archaeological site from the access tracks at the dig near the shoreline which, for me, is the most interesting part. Don’t hesitate to ask the archaeologists questions. [the telegraph travel]

Camel Racing – Camel racing used to be known as the “sport of sheikhs”. Qatar banned child jockeys in 2005 and replaced them with robotic jockeys. Now you can watch the robots whipping the camels, with owners and spectators following along in their 4-wheel drives or in a bus. A fascinating spectacle. The camel track is located about 40 minutes outside of Doha in the town of Al Shahaniya. Race times are often in the morning from 6am and the afternoon from 2pm. [the telegraph travel]

Corniche – A long promenade stretching over four miles along the half-moon bay of Doha. The pavement begins in the north at the Sheraton Park and extends to the construction of the new National Museum in the south. In between, you’ll find restaurants, outdoor exercise equipment, the Museum of Islamic Art, the MIA Park, an open-air fish market and a fisherman’s café. Anywhere along the Corniche you can catch a dhow boat ride. [the telegraph travel]

East-West/West-East Installation – Richard Serra, an American and one of the most important modern sculptors of our time, has installed four, 14-16 metre-high sculptures between the limestone cliffs of Ras Abrooq in western Qatar, an hour from Doha. His sculptures are known for balancing weight and gravity and his material of choice is steel which will oxidize quickly in the humid, salty climate. You won’t find this remote sight on any maps yet. To get there a four-wheel drive is required and there are no facilities nearby so take plenty of food and water. Make it a day trip by combining this with a visit to nearby Film City and Ras Abrouq Beach. [the telegraph travel]

Fanar Qatar Islamic Cultural Center – The landmark spiral tower rises above the low buildings near Souq Waqif. This building is used by many to orientate themselves both from getting lost physically in Doha and, the centre hopes, spiritually. If you want to learn more about Islam this is the place to go as the centre holds workshops and offers regular tours of the mosques at Katara. The Friday khutbah (service) is in English and non-Muslims and tourists are welcome to attend. [the telegraph travel]

Film City – In the middle of the desert, hidden behind the limestone cliffs of Ras Abrouq Peninsula, is what appears to be a well-preserved historical building. It’s really a mock ancient Arabian village used as the film set for a Qatari soap opera. A security guard will insist on showing you around (and expect a tip in return). Another portion further along consists of crumbling, conical buildings. It makes for fabulous, if inauthentic, photos. Children love roaming on the rooftops and playing hide-and-seek in the rooms. If you see any ostriches there, stay clear, they’ve been known to attack people during breeding season. [the telegraph travel]

Katara – Site of many cultural activities including art exhibitions, indy films, operas, orchestras and festivals. Built to replicate a traditional Qatari village with a few twists thrown in, such as the newly-built Falcon Museum, shaped like a falcon hood (not open yet). Be sure to visit the Roman amphitheatre and test the amplifying acoustics by standing in the middle of the stage and speaking in a normal voice. All the restaurants are excellent but I love to get a cup of karak from Karak & Chapati and walk along the promenade in the evening. The lights on the promenade are kept dim to provide privacy for Qatari families and there are free golf buggies available to take you about. [the telegraph travel]

MIA Park – A picture-perfect park next to the Museum of Islamic Art with green lawns, palm trees and a promenade curling into the Arabian Gulf. Families come to enjoy the playgrounds, bungee trampoline, kayaking and water pedalos. Tourists come for the views. At the end of the pier you’ll get the best views and photos of the Doha skyline, the Museum of Islamic Art and the Serra sculpture “7”.  At the weekend, families bring huge containers of food, tea, and chairs and stay for the day and well into the night. [the telegraph travel]

Msheireb Enrichment Centre – A small exhibition centre moored on water off the Corniche near the Sheraton Park where photos, artefacts and interactive displays show how historical traditions are being used to build the country, specifically the Msheireb development in the downtown area next to Souq Waqif. The first half looks at historical elements, while the second half displays the plans for the new development. [the telegraph travel]

Museum of Islamic Art – If you only see one thing in Doha make it this museum. The building, designed by star architect I.M Pei, is as impressive as the collection of Islamic artefacts inside. Metalwork, astrolabes, ceramics, jewellery, woodwork, textile and glass mostly from Turkey, Iran and Syria date from the 7th to 19th century but there’s little in the way of explanation. Ask the reception when the next guided tour begins or take one of the free audio guides, which are located in an unmarked stand after the security check. [the telegraph travel]

Racing & Equestrian Club – Here you can see some of the most beautiful Arabian horses in the world in action, for free. Races are held every Thursday, beginning at around 4pm, and once a month on Wednesdays. The racing season runs from October until May. Basic food is available. Once a year they have a Best Hat and Best Dressed contest, which always draws a lot of poshly-dressed women and is good fun. [the telegraph travel]

Ras Abrouq Nature Reserve – This undeveloped land was recently classified as a nature reserve to preserve the natural habitat. Located about an hour’s drive west of Doha it is an isolated section of desert known for its limestone hills and deserted beaches. Two sights are pocketed within the reserve, the renowned Richard Serra installation entitled East/West, West/East and Film City. [the telegraph travel]

Sheikh Faisal Museum – Nothing quirkier exists in Qatar. In a fort-like warehouse just outside of Doha, Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, a Qatari billionaire sheikh, displays his private collection of random artefacts. Fossilised dinosaur eggs, shark’s teeth and marine turtles are lined up next to elephants made of sea shells in macrame fashion, which are within view of a wall of pinned butterflies next to a 120 million year-old head and neck of a dinosaur. [the telegraph travel]

Souq Waqif – One of the few places where old culture has merged with new to create a space that all segments of society use. Since the 1750s this has been the best place to buy spices, dates, gold jewellery, and pots as large as table tops. The souq was restored in the early 2000s and continues to develop. Dive in and wander about. You’ll discover a falcon souq, gold souq, spice souq, fabric souq and an animal souq (which is not for the faint of heart). [the telegraph travel]

The Pearl – The most glamorous addresses in Qatar are located on these man-made islands, almost four million square metres of residential and commercial space. Rumour has it that some of the world’s best-known political leaders have private villas on this island. It is also home to over 30 of the world’s most renowned restaurants and cafés such as BiCe, Dalloyau, Megu, Cuisine, Tse Yang, Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar, and Armani Caffe. All the restaurants have been dry since 2011. [the telegraph travel]

Festivals

Festivals

Art Festival of Qatar – Local artists are extremely talented, so Qatar puts on the Art Festival each December. Many of the art galleries and museums hold exhibitions during the event to showcase local artistic talent. The event also includes artists from nearby Arabic nations, including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. [iexplore]

Doha Cultural Festival – During the month of March each year, the capital city of Qatar is home to the Cultural Festival. Attracting thousands of visitors annually, this important festival showcases the cultural uniqueness of the area. Traditional music, dance, costumes, and cuisine are mostly found throughout the event. [iexplore]

Doha Tribeca Film Festival – The Doha Tribeca Film Festival is one of the Middle East’s most impressive international events. Film enthusiasts, actors, critics, and directors come from across the globe to enjoy this yearly event, which is held in the month of October across Doha. It lasts for a total of five days and only began in 2009. Nevertheless, it has quickly grown into a reputable global film festival. [iexplore]

Eid – This is the festival that immediately follows Ramadan. It usually falls in the month of August or September, and is celebrated across the country. However, Doha certainly offers the more festive atmosphere. Feasts, dancing, and performances are usually held during the event. [iexplore]

Qatar Marine Festival – Beginning in 2010, the Qatar Marine Festival occurs in the month of March each year. It is held at the famous Katara Cultural Village along the Doha seafront. Musical performances, seal shows, aquatic animal displays, and many other features are found at the event. Every year, this interesting festival keeps getting bigger and bigger. [iexplore]

Ramadan – The Islamic month of fasting, called Ramadan, is an important time of the year in Qatar. During the daylight hours, the country is relatively quiet. However, when the sun goes down, fasting is put aside, and locals enjoy a celebratory atmosphere almost every night of the week. Families are often eating feasts, and several areas around the capital city, Doha, are important spots for celebrations. Ramadan usually falls between mid-August and early September. [iexplore]

Public Transit

Public Transit

Buses – The bus network in Doha and across Qatar is run by the government-owned Mowasalat organisation. There are numerous routes operating throughout the capital, and many services connect Doha with other parts of the country. In a bid to entice more people in Qatar to use public transportation, Mowasalat has been rapidly expanding its bus system over the past few months, intending to double its fleet to 250 vehiclesby the end of 2016 and increasing the frequency of some the more popular routes. [qa traffic]

Careem – Careem, Middle East’s ground transportation technology startup, has recently officially launched its service in Qatar, following a month of testing. With this launch, Doha joins the list of cities where people can order a chauffeur-driven private car for hire ‘limo’ through Careem’s website and mobile apps ‘available on iPhone and Android smartphones’. [qa traffic]

Mowasalat– Karwa – The distinctive green fleet Mowasalat vehicles are all new modern air-conditioned vehicles, fitted with the latest communication and navigation equipments, with high technology monitoring systems. Karwa taxis are considered the most convenient mode of transport around Qatar, with all taxis being clean, safe, comfortable, brand new, and spacious sedans. [qa traffic]

Taxis – The taxi service in Qatar is overseen by Mowasalat, under the Karwa banner. The distinctive green fleet is easy to spot on Qatar’s wide road network. [qa traffic]

Uber – Uber, which was founded in San Francisco in 2009 and is said to have received a US$250-million (QR910.4 million) investment from Google Ventures, has set up branches in several cities in the US and India, among other locales. It launched operations in Dubai last August and Abu Dhabi in November, before coming to Qatar. [qa traffic]

Professional Groups & Events

Professional Groups & Events

Doha Cyber Security for Control Systems – This meetup dedicated to all professionals involved in Cyber Security for Automated Processes and Control Systems including security for Operating Technology (OT), Industrial Control Systems (ICS), SCADA Systems, Transportation Systems, Building Control Systems (BCS), and even emerging Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) systems. [meetup]

Doha eLearning Developers Guild (DeLD)- Ed Tech – The DeLD Guild is a group of teachers, trainers, curriculum writers, multimedia designers, educational technologists, instructional designers, web developers, assessment specialists, accessibility and usability experts, learning administrators and programmers who design and work with teaching, learning and technology. [meetup]

Doha Entrepreneurs – We are a group of individuals interested in learning more about entrepreneurship. We meet to share our start-up stories and support each-other to start one. Some of us are in an idea stage, start-up phase, launched, scaling, existed the business or none of the later. In any case, we hope to share exiting experiences and support each in an informal way to create value! [meetup]

Doha Open Source Meetup – This is a group for anyone interested in all things DATA! Let’s get together to discuss the current climate and emerging information in the field. We can plan some local get togethers to hang out! [meetup]

Doha Professionals – We organize the best meet ups in Doha for professionals. [meetup]

DohaR- The Doha R User Group – Building a Data Science Community in Doha. Presentations and discussion about R programming, statistics and data analysis. [meetup]

Qatar Startup Founder 101 – Startup Founder 101 brings together aspiring and experienced tech entrepreneurs to discuss, meet, and collaborate to build great new startups, and to push the local startup ecosystem forward. [meetup]

Language Exchange

Language Exchange

British Expats in Doha – This is a group centred around British expats getting to know other Brits in and around Doha. This is a social group and is not specific to any particular interests. It is more about getting together, getting to know new people and enjoying Qatar! [meetup]

Doha English for Life – The Doha English Conversation Club – English for Life – is an ESL Meetup group where people can get together and speak English. Not everyone has the opportunity in Doha to use the English language at work and/or in their day-to-day life. ‘English for Life’ will give you a chance to improve your English through conversation. [meetup]

Doha French Conversation Meetup – We are dedicated to the promotion of French language and culture. The meetings each week give us the opportunity to speak in French and especially to have fun. No matter if you are a beginner or if French is your native language, there is definitely something here for you! Even if you do not attend the meetings, you can attend our events (film nights, discussions in French). [meetup]

Doha Spanish Self-Learners – This meetup is for all those who are interested I learning Spanish through self-learning. The only two conditions to Join this Meetup is to be committed and in interested to learn Spanish. The Purpose of this meetup is to motivate each other, and practice as much as possible. [meetup]

Egyptian Expats – Community group for who living in Qatar for Egyptian expats. If you are wondering things like… What will life be like in Qatar? How will we meet other expats in Qatar? What events are happening in Doha? You are in the right place! [meetup]

LGBT Groups

LGBT Groups

Resources

Resources

Places in Qatar

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