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Qatar Travel Guide

The State of Qatar, as its officially known, is a Middle Eastern country, which has a total area of 11,400 square kilometres. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the south with the Persian Gulf to the North, East and West. There are around 800,000 people living in the country, all of which are mainly of Arab, Indianh and Pakistani descent and predominantly of Islam belief. The inhabitants speak Urdu, Arabic and English and when it comes to making money, oil refining, fertilisers, steel, petrochemicals and cement are their main profit makers, trading mainly with Singapore, Japan, South Korea and the EU.

Previous to the mid 19th century Qatar was governed by the Al Thani family but later transformed itself from a struggling British settlement to an independent country, with natural gas and oil being its prime provider. By the late 1980ís to early 1990ís, the Qatari financial system was on its last feet, due to a non-stop draining of the petroleumísí profits by the emir, who had governed Qatar since 1972. In 1995 though, via a coup, his son, Amir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani stepped in and took over his fathers reign, with continuing border disagreements between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain getting resolved in 2001. The new emir is still reigning today and with natural gas and oil revenues on the rise, Qatar is with a per capita income nearly as good as top industrial countries of Western Europe.

Anyone feeling the need to burn off some energy whilst in Qatar, needs to use their hotel facilities, which usually include a pool, tennis court and gym. Outside sports are pretty much non-existent except for a few desert trips, which visitors can book at their hotel. Going into the capital of Doha, south of the country, visitors will find a bay, an airport and a few hotels, the only hotels in the country! There is also an Ethnographic Museum in the capital, within the centre square, which explores and describes how normal folk would have lived well before the oil boom set in. The areaís fort is another museum, with displays on handcrafts, such as carvings, jewellery and weaving and a postal museum nearby for all those stamp enthusiasts!

This country has limited means of transport to get its visitors from one place to another, but what it does have is private taxi and hire cars, which are provided for in Doha and at Qatarís small airport, south-east of Doha. When it comes to actually getting flights into the country, Qatar Airways and Gulf Air take passengers direct to the capital of Doha from places including Asia, India, Pakistan, London, Athens and New York, with other countries needing to make a connection with the above. Weather wise, the best time to arrive in Qatar is in November or from late February to early March, when the heat and humidity is not too imperious and the sandstorms have died down.

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