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Doha Mini Guide
A City State
Although Doha is officially the capital of the Country of Qatar, they are really both one and the same as there is little else to the country but the city of Doha and lots of desert. As you would expect from a Middle Eastern country, Qatar has an extremely arid climate with very little rain, the temperatures can reach as high as 42 degrees Celsius in July and drop to around 12 degrees Celsius during the night in January.
Qatar is an Islamic country, although the Qatari nationals are in the minority there, the major part of the population is made up of ex-patriates, the majority working in the oil industry in some way. However, many of these, coming from Bangladesh and other Asian countries are also of the Muslim faith, so you will find many mosques as you travel around the city, although the Christian church is represented there as well.
The main thing to see in Doha if you are interested in history is the Museum of Islamic Arts, this is located on an artificial island just off the Corniche and is a very imposing building with an amazing display inside, well worth a visit. If you are visiting and are looking for a “quick fix” and interesting blast of Qatari history, why not visit the Heritage Village, this is situated on the Corniche, next to the Al Bidda park and gives a showcase of traditional Qatari life and culture.
For the Animal Lovers
Particularly if you are visiting Doha with children, a visit to the Doha Zoo is a must, they have both indigenous and foreign animals – although no polar bears, they'd find it a little too warm! This is a lovely green space to enjoy in the centre of Doha. There is also the live animal market, where you will see camels, sheep, goats, even birds of prey being bought and sold by the locals.
Getting Around the City
As with most of the modern Middle Eastern cities, Doha is not geared up for walking, except on the Corniche, this is quite deliberate as temperatures are so high during the summer months it is almost impossible to walk anywhere. Most people drive or take taxi's, you can easily rent a car at Doha Airport on your arrival and you can drive for up to 7 days on your own driving licence – should you be in Doha for longer then you must take a Qatari driving test.
Where to Stay
There are all types of accommodation available in Doha, from budget to luxury standards and also serviced apartments – these are ideal if you are staying some time or are on business and need a sitting room and kitchen instead of just a hotel room. There are several 5 star luxury hotels in Doha and most of the world's famous chains are represented, along with a couple of local ones. There are also many 3 star and 4 star hotels if you are on a budget or on a business trip with some smaller budget hotels and even a Youth Hostel for the traveller preferring something more traditional or basic.
- Doha is home to the world's biggest trade fair and this year it takes place from the 1st to the 10th July in the Doha Exhibition Centre. Even if you're not a buyer, the fair is great for seeing the very latest products.