Qatar’s Enchanting Destinations

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ssarah

Qatar, more precisely the capital city Doha, appears to be a very modern city with blinding glamour. But there is much more to what meets the eye. Qatar has a rich collection of Forts and archaeological sites which is a perfect contrast to the country’s rapidly developing architectural landscape. Scattered all over the country, most of these Forts were built between 17th and 19th Century. Not only does these Forts enumerate the rich history of Qatar but it also embody the richness and efficiency of ancient construction.

Al-Wajbah Fort (Map)

Al Wajbah Fort is the oldest fort and even witnessed Qatar’s defeat of Ottoman forces! It is located in Al Wajbah in Al-Rayyan. Built in 1882, the fort was a pivotal point for battle under Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani. Characteristic of the fort are the four watchtowers and the condition of the fort, as it underwent restoration in the late 20th century. Fun fact: Wajbah means ‘meal’ in Arabic, which is an unusual name for a settlement. Open from 8 am to 1 pm you can check out the display of weaponry and find out more about the history of the fort for free!

Al Zubara Fort (Map)

The trip to the Zubara Fort over 100 km north from Doha will be worth it! The famous and quite new Zubara fort was built in 1938 for Skeikh Abdullah Al Al Thani. It served as a coast guard station until the 80s. Interesting about the fort is that one of the towers is rectangular instead of the round shape the other towers have. This is in opposition to the traditional architecture of forts. If you want to visit this fort make sure you go in a 4x4 car so you don’t get stuck! ;)

Wind Tower House (Map)

Like the name suggests, it is a –Surprise!- wind tower. The iconic design and architecture inspired many modern buildings in Qatar. The location of the wind tower house is perfect for an afternoon visit, combined with a trip to Souq Waqif.  The structure of the building is also a great example of using wind and architecture to our advantage, by offering shade and funneling wind through the tower that would circulate through the house. 

Umm Salal Mohammed Fort (Map)

Not too far from Doha you can come across Umm Salal Mohammed Fort, which was built in the late 19th century. This fort takes pride in being the artsy one out of Qatar’s forts with the artistic walls and structure. Next to the fort you can see Barzan Tower, which was one of the watchtowers at the time. Like many places in Qatar the entry is also free of charge, so make it a weekend trip with your family or friends!

Al Rakayat Fort (Map)

This fort in Madinat ash Shamal was constructed to protect water sources in the area. It’s one of the bigger forts you can visit in Qatar. Smaller farms were located around the Rakayat Fort. In 1988 Qatar Museums restored and excavated the fort and found an Islamic coin dating to the Abbasid period between 749-849 AD. Also who knew; the fort was inhabited until the 20th century. 

Fort of Thaghab (Map)

The Fort of Thaghab was renovated in the 80s and can now be visited as one of Qatar’s archeological sites. A freshwater well is in the center of the fort and outside the fort you can still find the remaining ruins of the village. With one cylindrical and three rectangular towers, this is a very traditional fort. If you visit Fort of Thaghab, have a look at the narrow courtyard rooms without doors and windows that all open to the spacious and bright courtyard!

Al Koot Fort (Map)

This fort is also known as Doha Fort, located close to Souq Waqif. What used to be a Military fort is now a place of art, collection and heritage. Between 7 am – 12 pm and 4 pm – 9 pm you can view paintings, handicrafts, weaving, gypsum, carvings, and wooden doors for free! 

Qal’at Murair (Map)

Close to Zubarah is Qal’at Murair, a fort used to oversee and protect Zubarah from invaders. What’s special about this fort is that there are several fresh water wells in and outside the fort and the mosque called Masjid Murair. The fort was built by the Utub tribe Al Bin Ali after they arrived in Zubarah from Kuwait. An invasion of Bahrain was initiated by the tribe from here!

Zekreet Fort (Map)

Zekreet Fort is located at the West Coast of Qatar near Dukhan. Those who visit the Zekreet Fort can distinguish between two building phases, where in the first the fort was built without the towers and the second, where they were added at the four corners of the fort. Only ¾ of the castle was completed with the towers left unfinished. In the rooms on the coast side the production of debis- a date-based food took place. The rooms were designed to accommodate for this production. You can visit a well-preserved room like this in the House of Sheikh Ghanim bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Al Wakra. 

If you want to dicover more amazing places in Qatar, check out the places you won't believe are in Qatar!