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Fifth Station - Qatar

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

23 Jul ~ 25 Jul, 2019



When it comes to Qatar, the first thing pops up in most people's head is 2022 FIFA World Cup. Before that, Qatar for most people is just a rich country with abundant oil. And Qatar was even a unknown and small fish village 50 years ago.


I visited this country is simply because of my connecting flight. Since I am unfamiliar with Arabic peninsula and cultures, I seized this opportunity to explore this country.


Before the discovery of oil, Qatar's economy mainly focused on fishing and pearl hunting industry. However, between 1920s and 1940s, Japan developed cultured pearl which made Qatar lose its competency of pearl hunting industry. Facing the darkest time, Qatar found Dukhan oil field which turned Qatar into a strong economy. Until now, the natural gas and oil reserve of Qatar ranks 3rd in the world. Moreover, Qatar has the best tax scheme and social welfare.


Before becoming an independent country, Qatar was only a tribe on the Arabic Peninsula. 1846, Mohammed bin Thani established Qatar tribe. Still, Qatar was recognized as part of Bahrain. In 19th century, Al Khalifa of Bahrain faced oppositions from local tribes in Doha, which led to the Qatari-Bahraini War. The Bahraini invasion in 1867 was in violation of the Perpetual Truce of Peace and Friendship of 1861. As a result, the UK put pressure on Bahrain and distinguished Qatar from Bahrain. In 1871, under military and political pressure from Ottoman Empire, Qatar became the part of Ottoman Empire. As the decline of Ottoman Empire and the outbreak of World War I, Qatar became one of the UK's protectorates in 1916. Furthermore, the independence of India and the World War II had led to the UK lose control of its colonials. In 1961, the independence of Kuwait signaled the UK's lose of control in Gulf Area. After a decade, in 1971, Qatar then separated from Trucial States, which becomes United Arab Emirates, and became an independent country.


Doha

Doha is the capital of Qatar and locates next to Persian Gulf. The first impression of this city is hot and humid. On the way to my accommodation is endless desert and buildings under construction. Because of 2022 World Cup, Qatar government decided to build metro in order to caster the need of transportation for visitors during 2022 World Cup.




The Souq Waqif is a marketplace in the old town withs strong Mid-East style buildings. It's a must visit attraction that you can find all kinds of Middle-East goods.


Around 10 mins walk from the marketplace is the Persian Gulf. It's strongly recommended to come here in the evening because you can see the jaw-dropping skyscrape of Doha.


Taking subway to new town. The sky-blocking buildings makes you feel the modernity and prosperity of this city.



The sign on the metro is very Arabic.




There is a Shopping mall in the suburban of Doha city. It's easy to get here by subway. The shopping mall is quite similar to the outlets in Taiwan. You can find all kinds of stores from luxury brands to restaurant. It seemed quiet here around 3 pm. I guessed it was mainly because the high temperature.



The National Islamic Museum of Art is next to sea. You must not miss the attraction. It displays all kinds of Mid-East relics. Besides, the decoration is beautiful. It also has an outdoor terrance that you can have full view of Doha city.



In the end, I would like share the current situation of labour right in Qatar. We all know that Qatar is a prosperous country. However, those tall, beautiful buildings are built by migrant labors. According to a report, only around 11% of labor are Qatarian, which means Qatar heavily relies on workforce from foreign countries. Many news have reported that during preparation of the World Cup, there are some cases related to forced labour and labor exploitation. Those migrant labors have to endure temperature working outdoor while suffering unfair treatment. It was extremely humid and hot while I was there. As a Taiwanese, I could not even endure the this high temperature during the day and am unable to stay outside for a long time. It's hard to believe that those labors can work under this terrible condition for 8 hours or so.



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