Qatar at a glance - Part 1 - Orlando / Florida Guide
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Qatar is a peninsula of 11, 521sq located halfway down the west coast of the Arabian Gulf. The capital city is situated on a calm bay halfway along the east coast of the Qatar peninsula. Its two municipalities of Doha and AL Rayyan house the majority of the population. The seven-kilometre Corniche links the cultural centres of Souq Waqif and the Museum of Islamic Art with glittering towers of the Al Dafna business and residential district. Doha is the administrative, commercial and cultural centre of Qatar, providing modern amenities while at the same time preserving its past.
The territory encompasses several islands including Halul, Sheraouh, al Beshrairiya, Al Safliya, and Al Aaliya. The coastline covers 563km with shallow coastal waters in most areas and many coves and inlets. The terrain is flat and rocky, covered with sand flats and sand dunes. There are some exceptional low rising limestone outcrops in the north and the west. The country is centrally placed among the states of the Gulf Cooperation.
Archaeological discoveries, inscriptions and artefacts prove that Qatar was populated as early as 10, 000 – 8, 000 BCE.
In the middle of the 1st century CE, Pliny the Eider referred to the nomads of the area as the Catharrel- an apparent reference to their constant search for water. One of the world’s earliest maps, the map of Ptolemy in the 2nd century CE, shows the word “Catara” at the head of the bay. Qatar played an important role in the Islamic civilization when its inhabitants participated in the formation and provision of the first naval fleet. During the 16th century, the Qataris aligned with the Turks to drive out the Portuguese. Subsequently, along with the entire Arabian Peninsula, they fell under the nominal rule of the Ottoman Empire for four successive centuries-with the real power and control remaining in the hands of the sheikhs and princes of the local Arab tribes.
The country has a moderate desert climate with mild winters and hot summers, winter nights can be cool, but temperatures rarely drop below 7 Celsius. Humidity levels can be very high on the coast during the summer months. Rainfall is scare (average 70mm per year) falling on isolated days mainly between October and March.
The official language of the country is Arabic but English is widely spoken and understood. All official documents must be completed in Arabic. Islam is the official religion of the country and Shari’a (Islamic law) is the principal source of legislation.
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