Planning to visit Qatar? This article provides general information about Qatar for tourists, which will give you a proper understanding of this Eastern country. It also answers many questions that may not be obvious or clear until you visit the country.

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Hotels in Doha

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Tours and Activities

General information about Qatar

Qatar is a small Middle Eastern country that belongs territorially to Western Asia. Below is general information about Qatar:

  • The area of Qatar is 11.5 thousand sq. km. The state is entirely located on the Qatar Peninsula, which is part of the Arabian Peninsula.
  • It is a very small country. For comparison, famous small European countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Lithuania, Latvia, each of them is 3-5 times larger than Qatar in terms of area.
  • Detailed information about Qatar on the world map, neighbors, borders can be found in the article at the link.
information about qatar where is it
If you are looking for Qatar on the world map, look for it in this red circle.
  • The population of Qatar is only 2.6 million people. 80% of the population are Arabs by nationality. And 95% of the population practice Islam. Religion is generally a separate and interesting topic. There are many nuances and features, even for tourists. In the article at the link, you can find everything a tourist needs to know about religion in Qatar.
  • The country has only one land border with Saudi Arabia, which is about 60 km long. The rest of the 480 km borders are maritime.
  • Qatar is washed by the waters of the Persian Gulf, and the maritime border, in addition to Saudi Arabia, also includes Bahrain, Iran, and the UAE.
  • The capital of Qatar is the city of Doha. The population of Doha is 1.2 million people. Almost 50% of the country’s population lives in the capital.

50 years ago, less than 20% of the population lived in Doha, and most citizens lived outside the city and engaged in fishing or pearl fishing.

Everything changed when oil and gas were discovered in the country, and most of the working population moved to the capital to work in the oil industry.

  • Form of government: absolute monarchy
  • Domain zone: .qa
  • Phone code: +974
  • Language: Arabic, but most of the population also knows English
  • Time zone: GMT+3

Symbols of the country: about oryxes, flag, and color

I have singled out this topic into a separate chapter since there is quite interesting information about Qatar.

  • You will find the coat of arms of Qatar in the photo below.
information about Qatar emblem
Information about Qatar: coat of arms
flag of qatar
Flag of Qatar: the color that was adopted since 1971

Above you will find the official flag of Qatar today. But often, in other sources, you can still come across the mention that the national color of the country is purple, of the same color as the flag. But does it really look purple to the observant reader? Let me briefly tell you where it comes from.

Even in the Middle Ages, in Qatar, they extracted a rare mollusk, dried it, ground it, and obtained a natural dye of red (purple) color. It was famous throughout the East. It was only extracted on the Purple Island, which is now located 70 km north of Doha.

And with this dye, they colored the country’s flag. However, under the sun, in just a couple of months, the red flags turned burgundy as the dye darkened. As a result, in 1971, the official flag color was officially changed from purple to dark burgundy, which can be seen in the photo above. Officially, it’s called Qatar maroon. However, the official color of the country remains purple (red) to this day.

Two symbols of the country from the wildlife:

  • The main bird of Qatar is the falcon. You can buy one directly at the market in the center of Doha in Souq Waqif. It’s not expensive. Prices for a bird start at $10,000.
  • The main animal is the Arabian Oryx. If you’re driving around the country’s cool landmarks, there’s a chance (albeit small) to spot oryxes right in the desert along the road.
qatar symbols
This is how falcons are sold right at the main market in Doha.

How to say Qatar correctly?

A short but important section to start with.

The correct pronunciation is

kAh-tahr, with the stress on the first syllable.

Industry, economy, Qatar GDP

Information about Qatar would not be complete without this section. There are many interesting figures here.

  • Qatar GDP (annual) is around $200 billion, ranking 52nd in the world. Recall that the country ranks 155th in the world in terms of area and 139th in terms of population. And GDP is 52nd place. This is very significant.

But GDP by itself doesn’t say much, there’s a metric called GDP PPP, and it’s much better at showing a country’s wealth. PPP (purchasing power parity) takes into account not only GDP per capita, but also adjusted for local prices in national currency.

For example:

GDP per capita, say, in Norway and Lithuania is $1000 (a figure off the top of my head). But $1000 in Norway is not the same as $1000 in Lithuania. In Norway, you will buy much less goods and services for this amount, as prices there are much higher. And it’s the ranking of countries in the world by GDP PPP that shows the real standard of living of citizens in terms of prices within the country.
  • Qatar is consistently ranked at the top of this list, always occupying the first to fifth position. In fact, Qatar has been in the first place more than any other country. That’s why you often hear that Qatar is the richest country. What is meant is that Qatar has the wealthiest people who can buy more goods and services with their income than anyone else in the world.
  • There’s an interesting article on why Qatar is so wealthy.
qatar form of government
The golden finger in the center of Old Doha is a monument commemorating the victory of the Qatar national football team at the 2019 Asia Cup.

There’s not much sense in discussing the economy and industry; the Qataris are doing very well in this regard. Tiny Qatar has:

  • The 13th largest oil reserves in the world.
  • The 3rd largest gas reserves (after Russia and Iran).
  • Oil and gas account for more than 80% of the country’s budget revenue. That’s why there are almost no taxes within the country, and the government doesn’t need any additional money. Qatar has a huge budget surplus even without taxes.

An interesting fact

that shows how stable the country’s economy is: Qatar’s currency is the Qatari riyal. Ten years ago, $1 was worth 3.63 riyals. Today, the exchange rate for $1 is still 3.63 riyals. In 2017, when the Persian crisis occurred and Qatar’s neighboring countries imposed a trade and economic blockade, the country’s exchange rate briefly plummeted and caused panic among the local population. At that time, $1 was worth 3.64 riyals. It dropped by 0.01 :). We wish we had their problems.

In conclusion, I hope this information about Qatar has helped you better understand the country and prepared you a little for your trip. Today, Qatar is actively developing tourism, has abolished visas, simplified entry rules, and is ready to show its hospitality to anyone who wants to visit. It’s safe, atmospheric, and very beautiful.

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Qatar

  • Flights at the best prices with discounts
  • Car rental: DiscoverCars
  • Hotels and apartments in Doha:
    • Hotellook – compare prices when booking around the world.
    • Agoda – the best selection of hotels in Qatar.
    • Booking – the main competitor of Agoda.
  • Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
    • GYG – more than 400 tours
    • Viator – excursions and activities throughout the country
  • Travel insurance: EKTA
  • Airport transfer: Intui
  • Internet and Calls: