20 Fascinating Facts About Qatar
1. Qatar, located in the Middle East, was once one of the poorest states in the region but is now one of the richest largely thanks to its oil exports.
2. Evidence of early inhabitation in Qatar – such as flint spearheads, pottery shards, burial mounds ,and rock carvings – date from around 4000 BC.
3. Qatar has been ruled by the Al-Thani family for nearly 200 years since 1825.
4. In 1916, Britain took control of Qatar’s foreign policy in return for providing protection.
5. Qatar gained complete independence on September 3 ,1971.
6. The flag of Qatar is white and maroon with a serrated vertical divide. The maroon represents the bloodshed in Qatari wars and the white stands for peace. The nine-pointed serrated edge signifies Qatar as the ninth member of the “reconciled emirates” following the Qatari-British treaty of 1916.
7. The dominant color of the flag used to be red (similar to that of Bahrain), but this darkened to maroon when exposed to the sun and the new shade was eventually adopted.
8. When measured by GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP), Qatar is the richest country in the Middle East and the world’s third-richest.
9. Qatar is the country least at risk of experiencing natural disasters according to the 2019 World Risk Report, compiled by the United Nations.
10. The Pearl-Qatar is an artificial island in Doha shaped to resemble a string of pearls in reference to Qatar’s history of pearl diving. The island is also the first land in Qatar to be available for ownership by foreigners.
11. Qatar only has one UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site. The walled coastal town was once a flourishing pearling and trading center in the late 18th century and early 19th century but it was destroyed in 1811 and abandoned in the early 1900s.
12. In 2017, a diplomatic crisis erupted over Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt all cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. They were later joined by Yemen, the Maldives, and Libya.
13. Qatar will become the first Middle East country to host the football (soccer) World Cup when it hosts the 2022 competition.
14. Human-rights groups have accused Qatar of modern-day slavery, saying that migrant workers building the World Cup stadiums have had their passports seized and are working in extreme heat – conditions that have reportedly led to hundreds of worksite deaths.
15. Robot camel racing is a rising sport in Qatar. The country has a long history of camel racing, but recently jockeys have been replaced by miniature humanoid robots linked to their trainers by a remote-control walkie-talkie radio.
16. Qatar is one of London’s biggest landlords, reportedly owning more property in the UK capital than the Mayor of London’s office and three times more than the Queen.
17. Gas and oil account for over 97% of Qatar’s exports – worth over $58 billion in total.
18. Qatar has acquired huge amounts of modern and contemporary art thanks to the ruling Al-Thani family’s purchasing of $100s of millions worth of art. In 2013, the sheikh was even named the most influential person in the contemporary art world.
19. The terminal building of Qatar’s Hamad International Airport in Doha has a giant teddy bear with a lamp on its head. The giant artwork weighs almost 20 tonnes, is over seven meters high, and costs $6.8 million.
20. Qatar is home to the world’s best airline, Qatar Airways. Known as the “Oscars of the aviation industry”, Qatar Airways has won the top prize at the annual World Airline Awards five times.