Doha is often referred to as the shining jewel of Qatar. It holds a majority of the country’s population which includes a large expatriate community. It is already a city of plenty, complete with a number of gleaming shopping malls, a dazzling skyline and more than one luxury hotel. Doha also boasts a seven kilometer long boulevard and twin carriageway that hugs Doha Bay; along with which ‘The Corniche’, features some impressive specimens of new age architecture and an unobstructed view of the harbour.
A megacity is taking shape and it exudes an air of confidence and prosperity. There is a strong focus on tourism and properties like the Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara echo the city’s message of opulence and luxury. Along with the modern developments there is much history and heritage to explore in Doha. The Zubarah Fort is one example. It was built in 1938 by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Qassim Al Thani and was subsequently used as a coast guard station. Today, it serves as a museum and displays artifacts uncovered in the nearby Al Zubarah archeological area, which has been declared a UNESCO, World Heritage Site. The fort is a square structure with three of its corners extending into large circular towers, while the fourth is fortified with a rectangular tower. The ramparts that top the towers, as well as the rest of the building, depict an architectural style that is traditionally Qatari. Triangular shaped ledges at the very top as well as slit windows were designed to shoot at approaching enemies.
There is no admission fee to enter the fort but opening hours are from 8am to 6pm daily, apart from Friday mornings. The second floor can be reached using one of the external staircases in the courtyard where a wide promenade leads to rooms inside the towers. Wooden rungs that lead to the roof can still be seen within the towers.
Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Caliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered.