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Posted On: 8 September 2020 10:30 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 10:18 am

The Wind Tower: The traditional cooling system of Qatar

Vrinda Abilash
Vrinda Abilash
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Summers in Qatar are a whole different story. We all know that during peak summers, the temperatures soar to an average maximum of 42°C in the country! Today, we almost don’t feel the sweltering heat, thanks to the cosy ACs and fans we have gotten used to. Have you ever wondered how life was in Qatar before the invention of air conditioning? Let us take you back in time to get a glimpse of how people used to beat the heat with simple yet effective techniques that they applied while constructing their homes and buildings back in the day.

How did people cool themselves in the past?

Wind Tower Qatar
Image Credit: Travelistica and Qatar Visitor

During the olden days, people built towers called Wind Towers, also known as 'Barjeel' in Arabic, for cooling the temperatures inside the buildings before electricity was invented. The peculiar architecture of the building allows it to do so.

In Qatar, the 'Burj Al Hawwa' or the Wind House Tower, housed in a traditional Qatari building built in 1935, still stands the test of time and is one of the very few remaining wind towers in Qatar!

Back in the day, houses that had wind towers signified wealth and status. Homes that were elaborately built, with a courtyard or majlis (which are commonly seen in Islamic architecture even today), had the wind towers situated on the exterior rooms of the house, where they usually welcomed guests.

To know more about the majlis culture in Qatar, click here:

How do they function?

Wind Tower Architecture
Image Credit: Pinterest

1. The Wind Towers often rise over 15 meters above ground, where the wind velocity is greatest and the air is cleaner and less laden with sand. Multidirectional wind-towers capture the wind from any direction.

Wind Tower Architecture
Image Credit: Pinterest

2. The funnel helps accelerate the descending air into the room below. Wind exerts a high positive pressure on walls facing its flow.

3. Circulation of air sends a cooling breeze into the rooms. The breeze helps cool the body by increasing the evaporation of moisture from the skin.

4. A strong upward current of air maintains the air circulation. An opposite effect is created on the other sides, causing air to be sucked through the building and out of the other vents.

Where can you see it in Qatar?

The Wind Tower House is a historical landmark and is located in the courtyard of the Najada Shopping Plaza on Grand Hamad Avenue and Ali Bin Abdulla Street. This building once was the Ethnographical Museum, but it is now closed and the house is no longer open to the public, although it can be viewed from the outside.

Have you seen the Wind Tower House in Qatar? Do you know of any other unique buildings in Qatar? Let us know in the comments below! Do share this article - it keeps us going!

References:, Explore Qatar
Cover image source: Travelistica