Thursday, December 20, 2007

Al Zubarah

My parents moved to Doha, Qatar and for Christmas I have come to visit. Here's what I did my first full functional day in the country. And yes, I was wearing my "Disco Stu 2002" tee shirt.I went to the west side of the country with my mom and two other people she knows. We were going west across the country on a highway, and stopped to look at some camels on the side of the road.

They were behind a fence, and were being raised the way Americans raise horses. The desert isn’t sand like I expected, it is mostly hard ground and rock.

We then went to the al Zubarah fort. It was built in 1938 on the ruins of a destroyed castle and used as a defense against Bahrain. The holes in the building were meant for guns to shoot out at intruders. The fort was then used as a jail as late as the 1970s, and as a Coast Guard place until the 1980s. It was then turned into a museum.

When we got there, there was no one there. We just walked on in and went around. After a while some other people arrived.

After going around the fort, we went to the Arabian Gulf. I waded out, it is really shallow and I couldn’t really go swimming.

Then we went to al Zubarah town. It was build in the late 1600s, and most of it has not been unearthed. In its day it was huge – some European maps called all of Qatar Zubarah after the town.

Coins from India, China, and European Africa have been found there. The city is estimated to be 2,000 by 800 meters. It will be much more impressive if it is ever fully excavated. Like the fort, we just walked on in. There wasn’t a place for anything official, it was completely self guided.

On our way home we stopped by the Emir's personal zoo, and could look in through the fence. He had various animals (mostly African) including the oryx - the national animal of Qatar.

It was a great day, I got to see a huge chunk of the country. This weekend I'll be heading south to the more sandy part of the desert and to go to the Gulf down there.


Amy Jean said...

wow. that is all.