For Sale

Population steady growth

The population of Doha is increasing rapidly, with many ex-pats from all over the world involved in the highly important oil, gas and expanding tourism industries.

The financial and trade sectors of Qatar are also increasing in importance.

In 2004, Qatar's population stood at 744,029, with local Qataris accounting for around 20 per cent of the total, with the remainder made up of ex-patriates mostly from the Indian subcontinent,but also from other Arab countries, Europe and the USA.

The population growth rate is very high, at around 9 or 10 per cent. By July 2005, it was 850,000.

About 350,000 or more, live in the capital, Doha, with a further 270,000 in Al Rayaan on the western outskirts of Doha. So the Doha conurbation area absolutely dominates Qatar, population-wise, with around three-quarters, or more, of the nation's people.

The city of Doha is quite compact and the modern road network ,including the ring roads, makes it fairly easy to get from one side of town to the other.

One thing you need to get used to, is the number of roundabouts across the city.

These roundabouts often have names, based on the sculptures that adorn them, or on their location, and will commonly be used when giving directions.

Also worth noting is the fact that there does not seem to be any single residential area in the city that is seen as more deirable by the expat community, except perhaps the West Bay development.

This is because smart apartment buildings and self-contained complexes of luxury villas can be found almost anywhere around town.

When it comes to area names, residents tend to use the names of nearby buildings or landmarks to describe a location, rather than the actual name of the area. Please bear this in mind in Doha when asking directions.

When it comes to quality shopping, Doha is really well served. From the largest, modern shopping complexes and malls to the tiny shops of the traditional souqs, or Arab markets, eager shoppers will find everything they need and more.

Musheirib and the area that extends inland from the port is known for being the traditional shopping district of Doha. There is a mix of old and modern buildings, with a lot of recent development with such a variety and quantity of shops, this is a popular area.

Single women should be warned though that this is a very "male" area and they may feel uncomfortable and find themselves on the receiving end of unwanted stares and attention.

The shop opening hours are usually 9 am or 10 am until 1pm and then again from 4 pm until 10 pm. Friday opening is often in the afternoon only.

Facilities like the City Centre Doha, the largest shopping complex in the Middle East, offer world-famous brands alongside many exciting facilities for families.

On Qasim bin Mohammed Street, towards Doha Corniche, stands the Doha [or Al Koot] Fort. The fort is open to the public and displays locally made handicrafts. Behind the fort are the tradititional shopping areas of central Doha, known in the Middle East as souks.

Souks are bazaars ,or markets, that sell virtually everything.

They are a heady mixture of scents, sights and sounds, where items are not marked with traditional price-tags and haggling over sales is expected ....indeed welcomed!

Souq Waqif is the oldest of Doha's traditional markets, originally used by Bedouin traders as a place to buy and sell meat, wool, milk and other important staples.

Today the souq is a maze of alleyways packed with everything from traditional clothing to hardware, perfume, luggage, tents, spices, oils, sweets, household goods etc etc. It is a fascinating shopping experience.

The perfume shops sell everything from essential oils to imitation French fragrances. Make sure you smell the various type of Arabian oil called "oud", which is a sweet-smelling agarwood.

The spice traders give the souk such an aromatic scent. There are several kinds of colourful whole and ground spices on display in boxes and sacks. The various smells are intoxicating.

There are also textile souqs and gold souqs in Doha.

It is a feast for the eyes walking through the Gold Souk with all the hanging gems in the windows.

Most of the gold is 21 carat, so it may be more yellow in tone than the gold you are used to in Europe, but it is certainly of a high quality. Pure gold is 24 carat. All the gold in Qatar is tested and marked, so you can be sure you are buying the real thing. It is strictly regulated.

The Thursday/Friday souq or market, where more clothes, perfumes, shoes, fabric, household goods and carpets are on offer, is very popular.

This "Thursday and Friday Market" is across the road from Al Naida Police Station, which is itself adjacent to the Fish Market [I wonder if the police investigate any fishy goings-on there?]. There must be "wonderful" smells there in the humid heat of high summer!! A visit to the Spice and Perfume souks afterwards is a good way of clearing the nostrils!!

Next to the Fish Market is the Wholesale Market, just off the Salwa Road.

Travelling inland from Doha City Centre along the Salwa Road, you turn left at the big roundabout on Salwa Road, and head south-east into Wholesale Market Street, passing the Wholesale Market; the Fish Market; Thursday and Friday Market and then the "Sheep and Bird Souk".

This all provides a fascinating, varied day out, where one is confronted with a myriad of the natural smells and sounds of traditional Qatari life in the one street!! Highly recommended!! This south-western area of Doha is known as Abu Hamour, and is inland of the city centre shopping area of Musheirib.

Most surprisingly for a sweltering desert city, Doha has an ice skating rink where skates can be hired by the hour. Visitors and expats who find the summer heat a little too much, love it at the ice rink!

Qatar Bowling Centre offers 10-pin bowling in a large 32 lane facility. City Centre Doha also has two bowling for ladies only!

There are also several historical sites, including museums, in Doha, which are of great interest to visitors. However, most visitors would probably regard the finest and most attractive parts of Doha to be Doha Harbour and the Corniche.

Doha has a very fine, interesting harbour, always filled with working boats and pleasure craft, providing endless fascination for both visitors and locals.

Meanwhile, Doha Corniche, a long palm-fringed dual carriageway along the city sea-front, lined with luxury hotels, apartments and various fine government buildings, is undoubtedly the most attractive and chic part of Doha.

People love to stroll and jog here, especially in the cooler evenings,taking in the twinkling sights of the city and the Arabian Gulf.

Doha Corniche extends for seven kilometres in a horseshoe around Doha Bay. Most hotels and clubs are at the south-eastern end of the Corniche on Ras Abu Abboud Street.

Near Museum Roundabout, beyond Doha Club is the Al Nasaa Restaurant with its notable architecture, featuring traditional wind towers. Just beyond this is the Qatar National Museum, based around the restored former palace of the ruling family. The grassy, shaded Museum Park is alongside.

Across the main road, called Al Corniche Street, is the fascinating Doha Port area.

The fine new Museum of Islamic Arts is here, on its own jetty. Another jetty leads to the largest wooden dhow in the world and the popular dhow restaurants.

At the entrance to this jetty is the famous pearl sculpture that features in so many visitors' photo albums.

Continuing westward, you come to the impressive Emiri Diwan building with its lush landscaped gardens and cascading water feature. The massive Diwan building is the official home of the Qatar Government. This is followed by the imposing Ministry of Foreign Affairs building.

Following the sweep of the attractive Corniche to the north-west, you get to Rumeilah Park, sometimes known as Al Biddah Park, which features a variety of attractions and facilities for families.

The park has restaurants, children's play areas and the impressive Heritage Village, which was built to resemble a traditional Qatari hamlet. Local crafts and arts are featured and musicians sometimes perform there.

Qatar National Theatre and the National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage are next to Rumeilah Park, followed by the Qatar National Library. This bold, futuristic building is an unmistakeable landmark on the corniche.

Carrying on around the corniche, there are striking examples of of Doha's architectural achievements, with residential and commercial towers enjoying commanding positions overlooking Doha Bay and the Gulf. Amongst these is the General Post Office.

Further along, at the end of the corniche, is the unmistakeable Aztec pyramid shaped Sheraton Hotel, in a prime scenic, commanding location.

Just before you reach the Sheraton Hotel, there is the very pleasant Sheraton Gardens, with shop, cafe, children's playground and plenty of space for a picnic. This is also the place to catch a dhow over to Palm Island, in the harbour. They leave every 10 minutes and the journey takes about 10 minutes.

The island is also called Palm Tree Island. It has fine beaches for swimming and excellent family amenities, such as restaurants, cafes and water sports.

Is there any wonder that Doha Corniche is so popular, both with visitors and locals?

Indeed, Doha is a fascinating city , with much to see .It is very easy to reach from Doha
International Airport ,located on the south-eastern corner of the city.

A huge, very impressive new airport, called "New Doha International Airport" is being built near to Doha International Airport.

Due to the possible confusion caused by the name, "New Doha", many visitors to Qatar will undoubtedly call the fantastic new airport "Qatar International Airport".

Since it will also be the main hub of the excellent, highly-regarded national airline company, Qatar Airways, it will be even more reason for visitors to use the name "Qatar".

Besides, in years to come, the new airport will no longer be "new", which will persuade many to drop the redundant adjective. Here's a thought!

Will some people, on poor phone lines, confuse "New Doha" with "New Delhi", I wonder?

"Qatar" is much less confusing, because it is the only independent country in the world beginning with the letter " Q ".

That sets the country apart and makes the name unique and memorable. A huge advantage when it comes to global marketing!

Join the Q ........Visit Qatar !!!!