A side view of Al Zubarah Fort

Al Zubarah Archaeological site

Once a thriving pearl fishing town and trading port, Al Zubarah is now Qatar’s largest heritage site, with an impressive city wall, ancient residential palaces and houses, markets, industrial areas and mosques.

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Summer Hours

Friday and Saturday: 3pm–sunset
Entry to the site is ticketed.

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A World Heritage Site

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.

The site, located approximately 100 km northwest of Doha, stretches 2.5 km from the Al Zubarah Fort to the coast. Founded in the mid-eighteenth century, the town developed into the country’s largest and most important settlement. Its success attracted the attention of other Gulf powers, and after several attacks the town was burned to the ground in 1811. By the first decades of the 20th century, it was abandoned. Today, the site covers an area of 60 hectares with remains of houses, masajid (mosques), madabis (date presses), large fortified buildings, and a market.

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The Al Zubarah boardwalk helps visitors get around the site.

There are amenities near the fort, such as a Service Centre with restroom facilities, and a shuttle service that helps visitors navigate the area between the fort and the town. An Al Zubarah Visitor Centre is also being developed to present the story of coastal and long-distance trade, pearling, everyday life, and key historical events told through material remains and key archaeological finds.

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.

Academic Resources

Al Zubarah is a site of ongoing research and study. The online library catalogue WorldCat.org offers a list of current publications available online or in a library near you.

Visit WorldCat.org