2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of the Middle East
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Doha (Arabic: الدوحة, transliteration: Ad-Dawḥah or Ad-Dōḥah), population 400,051 ( 2005 census), is the capital of Qatar and is at , on the Persian Gulf. Doha is located in the Ad Dawhah municipality, sometimes also known as the capital municipality. The city is Qatar's largest city, with over 80% of the population residing in Doha or its suburbs, and is the economic centre of the country. Doha is home to the Education City, an area devoted to research and education.
In 1850, the city of Doha was founded under the name Al-Bida. 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 British protectorate of Qatar in 1916, and when the nation gained independence in 1971, Doha remained the capital of Qatar. In 1917, the Al Kout fortress, which is located in the centre of the city, was built by Sheikh Abdulla Bin Qassim Al-Thani. In 1949, oil exportation began in Qatar. 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 Museum 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 centre in Doha. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani currently rules in what some consider to be Qatar's most beautiful city.
Doha's demographics are unusual as the majority of residents in the city are expatriates, with Qatari nationals forming a minority. The largest portion of expatriates in Qatar are from South Asian countries, with large amounts of expatriates also coming from the Levant Arab countries and East Asia. Doha is also home to expatriates from the United States, South Africa, United Kingdom, Norway, and many other countries.
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 and the Qatar Pearl. Ownership by foreigners in Qatar entitles them to a renewable residency permit, which allows them to live and work in Qatar.
Much of Qatar's oil and natural gas wealth is visible in Doha, which is the economical centre of Qatar. Doha is home to the headquarters of the country's largest oil and gas companies, including Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Gas 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 Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, 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 City 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 those being the Dubai Towers.
Doha is home to the University of Qatar, established in 1973, as well as several other universities located in Doha's Education City. Education City is home to campuses of several well-known universities, including Georgetown University, The Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Texas A&M University and Carnegie Mellon University. Doha is also home to many international schools established for its expatriate communities, with dozens of different private schools currently operating in the city. Education has been a big focus of the Qatari government which has led to the development of organizations such as the Qatar Foundation, which operates Education City.
Same as most of the rich Middle East cities, Doha is going through a huge construction boom. The city has been inviting international architectural firms to design the new buildings. New projects in Doha features:
Doha Villa by Kathyrn Findlay
Qatar Sports Tower
Weill Cornell Building
Doha is home to a number of sports stadiums, many of which were renovated in preparation for the 15th Asian Games, held in December 2006. Doha also hosted the 3rd West Asian Games in December 2005. Doha is also expected to host the 2011 Asian Indoor Games. Sports venues in Doha and its suburbs include:
- Al Ahli Stadium
- Al Gharrafah Stadium
- Al Itihad Sports Club
- Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium (Al Sadd Stadium)
- Grand Hamad Stadium
- Hamad Aquatic Centre
- Khalifa International Stadium - Main venue for the 2006 Asian Games.
- Khalifa Tennis Stadium
- Markhiya Sports Club
- Qatar Sports Club Stadium
ASPIRE Academy, launched in 2004, is a sports academy which aims to create world-class athletes. It is situated in the Sports City Complex, which also includes the Khalifa International Stadium, the Hamad Aquatic Centre and the Aspire Tower.
The MotoGP motorcycling grand prix of Doha is held annually at Losail International Circuit, located just north of the city.
Doha is expected to submit a bid for the 2016 Olympics.
The Mowasalat transportation company recently introduced of a new bus system in Doha. The bus system covers many areas of the city, and there are stops throughout the city. The bus system is mainly used by lower-income groups, and does not attract many from the higher-income groups in the city, which has resulted in increased congestion on the roads of Doha, as most people prefer cars.
Doha also has a large taxi system.
Doha is facing a tremendous problem with repect to congestion on its roads - despite attempts at introducing public transport to relieve congestion, the city's main roads are unable to cope with the huge amount of traffic. The city has seen significant effort dedicated to improving its road system recently, with major intersections being constructed in high traffic areas and new intersections and highways being planned throughout the city. While this will alleviate the city's congestion problems in the long term, it has resulted in large amounts of traffic being diverted to already busy intersections. Many projects to relieve the traffic problems in the city have been introduced, and most of the busy intersections of the city are being upgraded to improve the flow of traffic.
Doha International Airport is Qatar's only international airport. It is the hub of Qatar Airways, and it is served by many other international airlines. Because of the rapid growth in Qatar, and the rapid growth of Qatar Airways, many now consider the airport too small and unable to properly handle all of the traffic that goes through the airport. This problem was recently addressed with a large expansion that was made in anticipation of the 15th Asian Games. In order to accommodate increased traffic, the terminal was expanded. This temporarily eased the size problem, but because of its small size and limited space for expansion, this has not been enough to permanently solve the problem of the airport crowding.
A new airport, the New Doha International Airport, is being constructed near the existing airport, and should solve the problems the current airport has . The first phase of the airport should finish in 2008, and will be able to accommodate 25 million passengers annually. Upon the completion of the third phase in 2015, the airport is expected to be able to handle up to 50 million passengers annually .
Doha 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 very high. During the summer months, the city averages almost no precipitation, and less than an inch (2.5 cm) during other months.