Ask around, and few people will agree on or know how to properly pronounce Qatar. The small Gulf state (approximately the size of New Jersey) is one of the richest countries in the world. Few travelers explore beyond the country's capital city of Doha, so I decided to take a tour of the North of Qatar. It couldn't have been more different from Doha. Doha is a massive city with an amazing skyline that has sprouted up in the last ten years or so. It has the world-class Museum of Islamic Art, a fancy Souk and everything you could ever want. The North of Qatar does not. In fact, there isn’t much of anything. But that’s why it’s so cool to see!
If you travel around the new Gulf States like Bahrain, Dubai or even Oman, you’ll see massive buildings, modern luxuries, and spic-and-span cities, just like Doha. The second largest city of Qatar is a little town in the North of Qatar called Al Khor.
The main attraction in Al Khor, and really the only current attraction, is the fishing harbor. This is where the fishing dhows leave from and return to with their daily catch that supplies fish to much of Qatar. It’s not the most exciting place in the world but it’s interesting to see.
Beyond Al Khor is a sleepy beachside town called Al Thakira. It is most famous for a small Corniche and a little family beach where you can see mangrove trees. They’re very proud of these trees yet to the visitor they seem strangely out of place. That said, the beach is lovely!
Finally, as you cut across the desert in the North of Qatar you will arrive at the crown jewel of the North, Al Zubarah. Al Zubarah is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and very preserved at that. The old fort looks stunning and stoic in the vast desert.
It’s a very cool place to visit as the inside is essentially a museum. Nearby is an excavation site where they are unearthing ancient ruins. Those are always cool to see. The North of Qatar tour also included a lovely lunch next to Al Zubarah fort.
The North of Qatar is not a "blow you away" destination. However, if you’ve traveled to Doha before or around much of the Gulf, it’s a nice change to see the way things used to be in the Gulf. It really lends perspective and I got a lot out of it. In fact, I got exactly what I wanted to get out of it!
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