One of the smallest but mightiest countries in the Persian Gulf, Qatar is a country full of many interesting facts and exciting things to see and do. It is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and will be the first Arab country to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
From the history behind the Qatari flag to a giant teddy bear housed at the country’s main international airport, you will find some very interesting facts about Qatar down below. These Qatar facts just might intrigue you enough to make you think about visiting this luxurious and rich country soon!
Qatar is the safest country in the world
One fun fact about Qatar is that it was ranked as the safest country in the world for the third time in 2020. Previously, this accolade was given to Qatar in 2017 and again in 2019.
This fact comes from the Numbeo Crime Index, in which Qatar had the lowest score globally. It is one of the main reasons why a lot of tourists and ex-pats are attracted to Qatar. Surely, this is something to be proud of, don’t you think?
Machboos is the national dish of Qatar
One of the most fun facts about Qatar is that it has a delicious meal called Machboos as its national dish. This dish is incredibly popular amongst both locals and tourists.
Many restaurants around the country serve Machboos. When you’re in Qatar, it would definitely be a very wise decision to try it. The dish is made of rice, meat, onions, and tomatoes, mixed with spices, and is sure to leave you wanting more.
Qatar Airways is the best airline in the world
Qatar Airways, the national airline of Qatar, has been named the best airline in the world for three consecutive years. It operates domestic flights as well as international flights to all seven continents.
It is the only airline that takes passengers to countries on all of the continents. At one point, Qatar airlines had the longest scheduled flight in the world, which was between Doha and Auckland. It took 16 hours and 30 minutes to complete.
When you come to Qatar on its national airline, you will experience luxury and comfort like nowhere else.
A giant teddy bear lives at Hamad International Airport
One of the first interesting things you will see when you arrive in Doha, Qatar, is a giant teddy bear in the main terminal building of the airport. The teddy bear has a lamp on its head and sits proudly in the Hamad International Airport.
The giant artwork has been reported to cost $6.8 million and weighs almost 20 tonnes. It is sure to catch your eye and has become a very popular picture destination for tourists.
Hamad International Airport is the third best airport in the world
Qatar’s main airport, the Hamad International Airport, has been ranked as the third-best airport in the world. It is also the best airport in the whole of the Middle East.
Hamad Airport is located in the capital of Qatar, Doha, and serves as the first impression of Qatar for many tourists visiting the country.
The airport is known for making journeys smoother and offering loads of entertainment. It also has the longest runway in western Asia, which is the 6th longest in the world.
There are no forests in Qatar
Now, this fun fact about Qatar shouldn’t be the most surprising to you. Pretty much all of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates is a desert landscape with very few forests and greenery. Most of the trees and green landscapes are human-made.
Qatar is one of the only four territories in the world where there are no forests. They do have some greenery, but a forest is something that you will never see in the country. There are a lot of stunning sand landscapes that you can still enjoy, though!
Qatar is the second flattest country in the world
If you love to hike, Qatar may not be the country for you. It is the second flattest country in the world, behind the Maldives. It has an average elevation of 91.9 feet, with the highest elevation at about 338 feet.
When you visit Qatar, you won’t be seeing any rolling hills or cliffs. You will instead have to rely on skyscrapers to give you a sense of the grandeur of the place. The country is full of flat expanses, though, and those are pretty amazing to look at as well.
It is a country where the sea meets the desert
One of the more interesting facts of Qatar is that it is one of the few places in the world where the sea meets the desert. While the expansive sand dunes in the country are a sight to behold themselves, Khor Al-Adaid is a different story altogether.
The area was declared a natural reserve in 2007 and is also known as the Inland Sea. There is a thriving ecology in the area, with some endangered marine species and grazing camels around. Khor Al Adaid has different cultural and archaeological sites to explore as well.
Qatar will be the first Arab country to host the FIFA World Cup
One of the most exciting events in the world of football is the FIFA World Cup. Countries worldwide hope to be the next ones to host it, and in 2022, Qatar will be the first Arab country to hold this major sporting event.
Not only that, but it will also be the smallest country ever to host it and the only one to hold it in the wintertime. Furthermore, it will be the first-ever carbon neutral World Cup. Qatar has invested in this event heavily, and it promises to be a great World Cup when the time comes.
It is the first country that made purple shellfish dye
One of the most interesting facts on Qatar is that the country is known for being the first to make purple dye out of shellfish. The inhabitants of Al Khor Island hold this honor.
Al Khor Island is one of the most beautiful and popular tourist destinations in Qatar. There have been discoveries of items from the second millennium BC, and the island is called the Purple Island due to the dye production that happens here.
The national animal is the Arabian Oryx
If you have ever seen the Qatar airlines logo or the mascot for the 2006 Asian Games, you will have seen the Arabian Oryx being represented as the national animal of Qatar.
This beautiful animal was saved from extinction in the 1970s by different zoos and reserves. It is an antelope with a long straight horn and a tasseled tail. Wherever you go in Qatar, you are bound to come across images of their national animal.
Qatar has very cheap gas
Qatar is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and most of that wealth comes from petroleum and natural gas. The exports of these two things account for 60 percent of their GDP, and there are many perks that the people of Qatar enjoy because of this.
One of the best perks is the cheap petrol. Qataris enjoy very low prices on their petrol and don’t have to splash out a lot of cash to fill up their tanks. In fact, you would probably find that filling up your tank in Qatar is cheaper than enjoying a few lattes at Starbucks.
It has the longest drilled oil well in the world
Most of the countries in the UAE are understood to have oil wells, as that is how they tend to make their money. Qatar is no different, but a fun fact about Qatar is that it has the longest drilled oil well in the world.
The oil well is named BD-04-A and has a total length of 40,320 ft MDRT. It is located in the Al-Shaheen offshore oil field off the coast of Qatar. The oil well also holds a Guinness World Record, cementing its place as the longest in the world.
Qatar’s flag is very unique and holds great significance
You will notice in Qatar that their flag is displayed almost everywhere, no matter where you are. The flag is nice to look at, but it also has a lot of significance.
The nine serrated edges represent the inclusion of Qatar as the ninth member of the reconciled Emirates under a treaty that was signed with the British in 1916.
The maroon color is called Qatar maroon, or Pantone 1955 C, which represents the purple dye industry on Al Khor Island. The flag is unique as it is the only flag in the world twice as wide as it is high.
Men outnumber women 3 to 1 in Qatar
Here’s a fun fact! When you’re in Qatar, you will notice that there are many more men than women around. According to the most recent census in September 2020, there are three men for every one woman in Qatar.
The population of women is just 754,592 out of the whole population of 2,723,624. Qatar is, in fact, a country that has the highest male-to-female ratio in the world.
Only 12 percent of the population are Qataris
One of the most well-known facts about Qatar is that it is immensely popular with ex-pats. Many people move to the country to take advantage of the great weather, the laidback lifestyle, and the tax-free salaries.
Qatar is so popular with ex-pats that there are about two million of them living in the country. This figure means that Qataris themselves have now become the minority. At just 12 percent of the total population, Qatar has become a melting pot of different cultures and traditions.
99% of the Qatari population lives in Doha, the capital city
You’ve already learned that the Qatari population is the minority, but another amazing fact about Qatar is that most of this population lives in the capital city, Doha. Around 99%, to be exact!
This is partly because most of the country is desert and cannot sustain too much life. The other part is that almost all the Qataris are filthy rich and can afford to live in the capital. The rest of them, well, wouldn’t you love to meet them and hear their stories? I know I would!
The Doha Tower has no central core
One of the best things that tourists and locals alike love to look at is the Doha skyline. During the day, it looks commanding, and at night, it’s lit up and stunning. Among the structures on the West Bay, there is the Doha Tower.
The Doha Tower is a structure that was designed by the French architect Jean Nouvel. It was named the best tall building in 2012. The 46-story tower has several unique features.
The building has no central core and is the first skyscraper in the world to use internal reinforced concrete diagrid columns. The façade is a nod to the ancient Islamic design, Mashrabiya, and it is just an incredible building to look at.
The country name dates back to 50 AD
One of the more interesting Qatar facts has to do with the country’s name. In the mid-first century, the Roman writer Pliny the Elder called the inhabitants of this area ‘Catharrei’.
The name has gone through many iterations since then. Up until the 18th century, the name Catara was used until Katara became the more common spelling.
More variations followed and were quickly adopted as the common name up until Qatar officially became the country’s name.
Qatar’s National Day wasn’t always celebrated on the same day
Qatar’s National Day is celebrated on December 18, and it is a day of top deals and fantastic firework displays all around. But, a fun fact about Qatar is that this day wasn’t always celebrated in December.
Before 2007, when it was officially changed, the National Day was celebrated on September 3. This was the day when Qatar gained independence from the British in 1971.
December 18 is when Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani unified the local tribes and succeeded his father as the ruler in 1878.
The weekend falls on Fridays and Saturdays
Throughout most of the Western world, there are five working days and two days for the weekend. Saturday and Sunday are the days we most associate with the weekend, right? Well, another fun fact about Qatar, their weekends fall on Fridays and Saturdays.
Most of the countries in the UAE don’t have the standard weekends that the West knows of. In Islam, Friday is a blessed day, and so many of these countries, including Qatar, don’t work on those days. The workweek starts from Sunday and goes up to Thursday.
Doha has the longest continuous cycle path in the world
The Olympic Cycling Track in Doha holds a Guinness World Record for having the longest continuous cycle path in the world. It was completed in 2020 and is 33 km long.
The cycling path has a variety of straight paths, underpasses, and overpasses, as well as 100 benches and 20 areas for resting. It was created by Ashghal, a Public Works Authority in the capital city of Qatar.
The track holds a record for the longest piece of asphalt concrete laid continuously as well, which measures 25.3 km. The network of cycling paths is a great way to spend the day in Qatar, exploring the different areas and being away from the busy roads of the capital.
They are obsessed with falcons
One of the most interesting Qatar fun facts is that the Qataris love to hunt falcons and keep them as pets. There is even a dedicated market called the Falcon Souq where people can buy not only falcons, but also hunting materials such as hoods, leather gauntlets, and hunting pouches.
The sport of falconry is deemed an important sport in Qatar, and many Qataris actively take part in it in their spare time. When you’re out in Qatar, don’t forget to visit the Falcon Souq to get an idea of how seriously it is taken here.
Qatar has a beautiful string of pearls
In the olden days, before Qatar discovered its natural gas and oil reserves, the money used to come from pearls. The country was known for good pearls that could be found here, and they made money through diving for pearls for a long time.
To pay homage to that part of their history, Qatar has made an artificial island on top of one of the most famous pearl diving spots in the past. The string of islands is collectively known as The Pearl, and it is a beautiful island to visit.
The ruling family has been in power since 1868
Ruling families around the world have changed throughout history. A fun fact about Qatar, though is that their ruling family has stayed the same since 1868 when Mohammed Bin Thani signed a treaty with the British.
The House of Thani, as the royal family is known, is the most powerful family in Qatar. It has high amounts of political and economic influence. When you go to Qatar, you will see that the people are loyal to the ruling family and have enjoyed a prosperous life under them.
They love to use robots for camel racing
Another sport that is hugely popular in Qatar is camel racing. A fun fact about the camel races in Qatar is that they use robots for the jockeys. In the early days, children were used as jockeys, but after it was deemed too dangerous for kids, robots were brought in to take their place.
Since 2004, these robots have been acting as the jockeys. They are controlled by the camel herders remotely, and often these herders will drive alongside the track to have two different perspectives. It is a sight to see when in Qatar and will surely leave you amazed.
You can eat your heart out at a 100-meter-long buffet
One of the most interesting yet random fun facts about Qatar is that it has a 100-meter long buffet. The Doha Marriott features this amazing buffet line where you can find every cuisine under the sun, from a full English breakfast to sushi and tacos.
Even if you feel like you can’t sample all the dishes on display, you should just visit to marvel at the sheer size of the buffet when you’re in Qatar. The Marriott hotel itself is a luxurious place to visit, and it only makes sense that they have this 100-meter buffet as well.
Qatar owns a lot of properties in London, England
The last interesting fact about Qatar is indeed a very mind-boggling one. Qatar has many real estate investments around the world, but most of them are in London. The Qatari Royal Family’s new home is also being built in London for an estimated $313 million.
The Mayor of London’s office and the Queen own a lot of real estate in London, but Qatar tops them on this. The country possesses more than three times the properties that the Queen owns in London, making Qatar the biggest landlord in London.
I hope you enjoyed reading the amazing facts about Qatar above, which are sure to leave you curious enough to visit the country now.
Qatar has unmatched luxury and decadence, and on your visit here, you will see quite a few things that stand out and make you appreciate the history and culture of the Qatari people.