Did you know Qatar is the only country beginning with the letter “Q?” It is! Located between an ocean and a desert, it is one of the fastest economically growing countries and one that sharply divides opinions. Here are some interesting Qatar facts to make your day.
1. Doha Is the Capital City of Qatar
Founded in the 1820s, Doha is the capital city and the financial hub of Qatar. It officially gained the status in 1971, after the country gained its independence from being a British Protectorate. Other than facilitating the emergence of financial centers, Doha is an educational, sports, and administrative center.
2. Qatar Hosted the 2022 World Cup
Qatar hosted the 2022 World Cup, a month-long soccer competition, amid uproar from various parts of the world. The event ran from November 20 to December 18, 2022. Even though the competition usually runs in the summer, Qatar’s was different, considering the scorching heat the region experiences at that time of the year. With an estimated cost of over $220 billion, it was the most expensive World Cup event ever.
3. It Is Ruled By Hereditary Monarchy
Qatar is a hereditary monarchy ruled by the House of Thani. This follows a treaty that Mohammed bin Thani signed with Britain in 1868, recognizing the family’s separate status. The current leader is Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who took over in 2013. He holds the majority of executive, judiciary, and legislative authority as per the country’s constitution.
4. It Is a Muslim Country
The majority of Qatar’s population is Muslim. As such, Sharia law is the fundamental source of the country’s legislation, even though it might have an element of civil law. Punishments such as stoning to death and flogging are legal in Qatar.
5. Qatar Is Tough on Alcohol and Homosexual Acts
Qatar has imposed tough rules against homosexuality; the offense, if convicted, carries the death penalty. However, the death penalty is rarely enforced, with the last state execution being in 2003. When the country hosted the global FIFA World Cup tournament in 2022, it came under heavy criticism because of its stance on banning alcohol from public events and non-inclusivity.
6. It Has One of the Lowest Female Population
Qatar has one of the world’s female population, with estimates showing just about 25 percent of the people in the country are female. The vast number of male migrant workers is partly responsible for this.
7. Qatar Airways Is a Massive Entity
Qatari Airways is the country’s national carrier. It is one of the best in the world, winning several accolades, including the World’s Best Airline. With a fleet of over 200 aircraft, Qatar Airways makes trips to over 150 international destinations ranging across Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and the Americas.
8. A Qatar Airways Plane Once Made a Bizarre Emergency Landing
In 2017, a couple and a child traveling on one of Qatar Airways planes forced an emergency landing. The woman used her sleeping husband’s thumb to unlock his phone and discovered he was cheating on her. The Doha-bound flight briefly stopped in Chennai, India, for the cabin crew to restore order.
9. Qatar Is One of the Richest Countries
With an estimated population of three million people, Qatar has the fourth-highest GDP (PPP) per capita, making it one of the wealthiest countries. Most of its wealth comes from exporting liquefied natural gas.
10. The Arabian Oryx Is the National Animal of Qatar
While camels are mostly associated with the Arabian countries, the Arabian Oryx is the national animal of Qatar. Characterized by long spear-like horns, a shoulder bump, and a tufted tail, the animal is one of four antelope species capable of surviving the harsh environment provided by deserts.
Classified as endangered in 1986, the Arabian Oryx is one of the few animals to revert to “vulnerable” status after previously being listed as near-extinct in the wild. Other animals prominent in the country include ostriches and lizards.
11. It Has a Powerful Media Presence
Over the years, Qatar has managed to expand its media presence to a global scale. It owns the Al Jazeera Media Network, a massive entity competing internationally in all aspects.
12. Many People Died During the Construction of the World Cup Facilities
When Qatar won the ticket to host the FIFA World Cup tournament in 2009, it had an obligation to prepare and deliver a world-class experience. One of the ways to do this was to hire people to help build stadiums, hotels, and other necessary facilities. Unfortunately, it is reported over 15,000 non-Qataris died between 2010 and 2019 at work.
13. Qatar’s Tourism Growth is Among the Fastest
The World Tourism rankings place Qatar as one of the countries with the fastest-growing tourism sectors. Millions of people visit the country to experience and explore its architecture, cuisine, and culture. With Qatar allowing nationals of 88 countries to enter visa-free and free of charge, the tourism sector is bound to improve further.
14. Arabic is Qatar’s National Language
Even though English is a rising lingua Franca in Qatar, Arabic remains the country’s most spoken and national language. Other spoken languages include Persian, Brahui, Malayalam, Indonesian, Hindi, Nepali, Bengali, and Tulu.
15. Qataris Are Covered By the National Healthcare Insurance Plan
The healthcare standards in Qatar are very impressive. Every citizen is covered by a national healthcare insurance plan, while expatriates rely on their employers’. With the ever-increasing demand for healthcare workers, including those from abroad, Qataris are among the citizens with the best healthcare in the world. And by the way, a person from Qatar is called a Qatari.
16. The Doha Cultural Festival Is Critical In Maintaining Qatar’s Culture
With the developing influence from around the world, there is a concern that Qataris might lose their culture, as is evident with the growing use of the English language. With that in mind, the Qatari Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Heritage started the Doha Cultural Festival in 2002 to help spread the country’s culture locally and internationally.
17. Qatar Is the Only World Cup Host Country to Lose All Its Opening Games
Qatar became the first host country not to win any of its World Cup group games. They were eliminated, so local fans found other teams to cheer.
18. It Only Borders Saudi Arabia
Qatar’s only land border is Saudi Arabia; it would have otherwise been an Island. It shares maritime borders with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Iran.