Doha, also ad-Dawhah is located in East Qatar and is the capital and largest city of the country. It has a large, artificial deepwater port, which was opened in 1969 and serves as a major trans-shipment center for cargo of the Persian Gulf nations. The University of Qatar (1973) and the National Museum (1975), masterpieces of Qatari architecture, are here. Doha is the only Gulf capital that can claim to have preserved almost all of its historically important buildings and the marketplace and the Government House (1969) are major landmarks.
More than half the population of Qatar resides in Doha. Doha was once a small fishing and pearling village, known to Persian Gulf pirates for the protection afforded by its old port of al-Bida, in the 19th century. The city became the administrative center of the British Qatar protectorate in 1916. It grew rapidly after petroleum exports, begun from Umm Said (Musayid) in 1949, brought vast new revenue sources to the national government. In 1971 Doha became the capital of the independent state of Qatar.
The country is a peninsula jutting out northwards from the Gulf's western shores. About 160km (100 miles) in length from its border with Saudi Arabia to its northern tip. Qatar is a compact country with all parts in easy reach. The country has many beautiful islands near its shores with rich coral and marine life.
Much of Qatar lies at sea level, though elevations rise to 50 meters (160 ft.) especially in the Southwest. Qatar has a desert climate with a long hot summer and mild winter with little rain. There have been people living in Qatar for thousands of years, as revealed in evidence such as flint spearheads and rock carvings.
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