Capital and largest city of Qatar.
Situated almost midway down the east coast of the Qatari peninsula, Doha is the country's center of administration, finance, culture, transportation, and social services. The modern city grew from the fishing and pearling port of al-Bida, which at the end of the nineteenth century had around 12,000 inhabitants. The town's economy depended to a large extent on pearling, and the busy port had some 300 pearling ships in 1939, just before the industry collapsed. After oil revenues began enriching the emirate in the 1960s, the city grew rapidly. Its simple one- and two-story stone, mud, coral block, and timber dwellings were replaced by high-rise apartments and offices, palatial villas, and tree-lined subdivisions supported by modern infrastructure. The city's waterfront is lined by a gracefully curving roadway and landscaped walkway, or corniche. Although the oil and gas industry dominate the local economy, fishing and trade also bring activity to the port town. According to the 1997 census the city had 264,009 inhabitants. Because most of the city's residents are non-Qataris, the character of the city resembles others in the Persian Gulf such as Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Dhahran, where there are large numbers of Iranians, Indians, Pakistanis, Filipinos, and Bangladeshis who influence the types of restaurants and the items sold in the markets.
Zahlan, Rosemarie Said. The Creation of Qatar. New York: Barnes and Noble; London: Croom Helm, 1979.
malcom c. peck updated by anthony b. toth