27 interesting facts about Qatar

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The most interesting facts about Qatar, from the world’s richest country to a giant teddy bear at its airport and a dedicated falconry market.

Interesting facts about Qatar include  its urbanised population
Interesting facts about Qatar include its urbanised population (Shutterstock)

Fast facts

Official name: State of Qatar
Capital city: Doha
Population: 2,444,174
Area: 11,586 sq km
Major languages: Arabic, English
Time zone: UTC+3 (Arabia Standard Time)
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

Interesting facts about Qatar

1. Qatar, located in the Middle East, was once one of the poorest states in the region but is now one of the richest largely thanks to its oil exports.
– Source: BBC News

2. Evidence of early inhabitation in Qatar – such as flint spearheads, pottery shards, burial mounds and rock carvings – date from around 4000 BC.
– Source: Lonely Planet

3. Qatar has been ruled by the Al-Thani family for nearly 200 years since 1825.
– Source: BBC News

4. In 1916, Britain took control of Qatar’s foreign policy in return for providing protection.
– Source: Britannica

5. Qatar gained complete independence on September 3 1971.
– Source: Britannica

Flag of Qatar
Flag of Qatar (Shutterstock)

6. The flag of Qatar is white and maroon with a serrated vertical divide. The maroon represents the bloodshed in Qatari wars and the white stands for peace. The nine-pointed serrated edge signifies Qatar as the ninth member of the “reconciled emirates” following the Qatari-British treaty of 1916.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

7. The dominant colour of the flag used to be red (similar to that of Bahrain), but this darkened to maroon when exposed in the sun and the new shade was eventually adopted.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

8. When measured by GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP), Qatar is the richest country in the Middle East and the world’s third-richest.
– Source: World Bank

9. Qatar is the country least at risk of experiencing natural disasters according to the 2019 World Risk Report, compiled by the United Nations.
– Source: World Risk Report 2019 (PDF)

10. The Pearl-Qatar is an artificial island in Doha shaped to resemble a string of pearls in reference to Qatar’s history of pearl-diving. The island is also the first land in Qatar to be available for ownership by foreigners.
– Source: NASA

Aerial view of the artificial island of Pearl-Qatar
The artificial island of Pearl-Qatar (Shutterstock)

11. Qatar only has one UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site. The walled coastal town was once a flourishing pearling and trading centre in the late 18th century and early 19th centuries but it was destroyed in 1811 and abandoned in the early 1900s.
– Source: UNESCO

12. In 2017, a diplomatic crisis erupted over Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt all cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. They were later joined by Yemen, the Maldives and Libya.
– Source: BBC News

13. Qatar will become the first Middle East country to host the football (soccer) World Cup when it hosts the 2022 competition.
– Source: FIFA

14. Human-rights groups have accused Qatar of modern-day slavery, saying that migrant workers building the World Cup stadiums have had their passports seized and are working in extreme heat – conditions that have reportedly led to hundreds of worksite deaths.
– Source: The Independent

15. Robot camel racing is a rising sport in Qatar. The country has a long history of camel racing, but recently jockeys have been replaced by miniature humanoid robots linked to their trainers by a remote-control walkie-talkie radio.
– Source: The Telegraph

Remote control camel racing in Qatar
Interesting facts about Qatar include remote control camel racing (Shutterstock)

16. Qatar is one of London’s biggest landlords, reportedly owning more property in the UK capital than the Mayor of London’s office and three times more than the Queen.
– Source: The Telegraph

17. Gas and oil account for over 97% of Qatar’s exports – worth over $58 billion in total.
– Source: Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC)

18. Qatar has acquired huge amounts of modern and contemporary art thanks to the ruling Al-Thani family’s purchasing of $100s of millions worth of art. In 2013, the sheikh was even named the most influential person in the contemporary art world.
– Source: BBC News, New York Times

19. The terminal building of Qatar’s Hamad International Airport in Doha has a giant teddy bear with a lamp on its head. The giant artwork weighs almost 20 tonnes, is over seven meters high and cost $6.8 million.
– Source: BBC News

The giant teddy at the international airport
The giant teddy at the international airport (Shutterstock)

20. Qatar is home to the world’s best airline, Qatar Airways. Known as the “Oscars of the aviation industry”, Qatar Airways has won the top prize at the annual World Airline Awards five times.
– Source: The Telegraph

21. Qatar has no trees. Although some trees are grown in private gardens, the country registers 0% (zero) forest cover.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

22. Qatar has the world’s lowest female population by percentage of total population. Just 24.7% of its population is female, meaning there are three men for every woman.
– Source: World Bank

23. Qatar has the world’s most urbanized population with 99.2% of Qataris living in a city.
– Source: CIA World Fact Book

24. Falconry is an important sport and pastime in Qatar. There is a dedicated market, Falcon Souq, in Doha where birds are sold along with falconry paraphernalia such as hunting pouches, hoods and leather gauntlets. The souk even includes a falcon hospital.
– Source: The Telegraph, Lonely Planet

The falcon hospital in Doha
The falcon hospital in Doha (Shutterstock)

25. Qatar is the world’s most polluting country in terms of CO2 emissions, registering 43.86 metric tons per capita.
– Source: World Bank

26. Along with 10 other countries, Qatar has the world’s joint-lowest murder rate registering zero (0) intentional homicides per 100,000 people.
– Source: World Bank

27. Qatar is the world’s 12th most obese nation. It is the second-highest ranked non-Pacific island nation with 71.7% of its population classified as obese.
– Source: World Health Organisation

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