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Al Zubarah, Qatar’s largest heritage site, was once a thriving trading port, known for pearl diving and molasses production. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013 and is the best–preserved example of an eighteenth–to nineteenth–century trading and fishing town in the Gulf region.
Al Zubarah Archaeological site is open to visitors, with ticketed entry.
In this video, Faisal Abdullah Al-Naimi, Director of Archaeology, and Adel Abdullatif Al Moslamani, Director of Cultural Heritage Conservation at Qatar Museums, tell us the story of Al Zubarah: its significance as the last city to rely on pearl diving in the eighteenth century, and its resilience in the face of threats and attempts at vandalisation across time.
The archaeological site comprises the remains of houses, masajid (mosques), madabis (date presses), large fortified buildings and a market, all of which are open to visitors. Watch this video to learn more about the processes of restoration and excavation that made this possible.
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Originally intended for defense purposes, Zekreet Fort was built by tribal leader Rahma bin Jaber Al Jalahmah, entirely of faroush stones, or beach rocks. The fort followed a rectangular plan and towers were added in a later stage to its four corners to further strengthen its structure. Small structures, among which are three madabis (date-pressing rooms), were discovered by archaeologists between the fort and the sea.
The Barzan Towers are located about 20 km north of Doha in the village of Umm Salal Mohammed, which was developed in 1910 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Jassim Al Thani. Earlier towers may have existed at the site throughout the nineteenth century.
Rock carvings, or petroglyphs, can be found at a dozen sites around the coast of Qatar. However, the greatest number of carvings can be found at Al Jassasiya, some 60 km north of Doha, on low limestone hills. Discovered in 1957, the site was systematically studied in 1974, when nearly 900 carved single figures and compositions were catalogued.
Al Zubarah is Qatar’s largest archaeological heritage site. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013 and is the best-preserved example of an eighteenth – nineteenth century trading and pearl fishing town in the Gulf region. Unlike its contemporaries, it is largely intact and has not been lost beneath the region’s vast modern cities.
This was the most populated region of Qatar in the 18th and 19th centuries due to its proximity to the sea and Bahrain, a regional trade centre. The exact date of the construction of Al Rekayat is yet to be determined, but archaeological evidence suggests that it could go back to the mid-18th century, when nearby Al Zubarah was thriving.
Extending along the coastline of northwest Qatar for some 2.5 km, Al Ruwaida was inhabited from about the 16th through the 18th centuries. The settlement incorporated a large, central fort, two mosques, a boatyard, and merchants’ warehouses.
The Old Palace was built in the early 20th century by Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, who is today considered to be the father of modern Qatar. For around a decade, the palace was at the centre of Qatar’s political leadership, serving as the residence of the ruler of Qatar and his family and the seat of government.
In 1975 the palace was converted into the Qatar National Museum, which included a Museum of the State, a lagoon and a popular marine aquarium. In 1980 the adaptation of the Old Palace as a museum won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture.
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