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Doha,

silversea africa indian ocean cruises doha qatarDoha (population 700,000) is the capital of the State of Qatar, an emirate occupying the small Qatar Peninsula bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and otherwise surrounded by the Persian Gulf. Qatar was ruled by many different powers through the centuries, in fact historians have traced human habitation dating back 5000 years. From its earliest history, Qatar was a very important trade route connecting Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Among its occupiers were the Portuguese, the Ottomans and finally the British during the turbulent years of the 20th century. Qatar gained independence in 1971, and with resources from oil exportation, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Hamad made improvements in social programmes including education, health and housing. In 1995, his son, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani assumed the throne and brought with him a modern and progressive approach that quickly transformed the country.

Doha, home to 80 percent of the country’s population, was founded under the name of Al-Bida in 1850. It became the capital of the British protectorate of Qatar in 1916. When the nation gained its independence, Doha remained the capital. During the early 20th century, much of Qatar’s economy depended on fishing and pearling. But after the introduction of Japanese cultured pearls, Doha and the whole region suffered a decline. Only when oil was discovered, prosperity returned following World War II. Today, the country produces over 800,000 barrels of oil daily.

Doha is situated halfway down the east coast of the peninsula. It is an intriguing mixture of old and new, with ultra modern architecture next to traditional souqs and historic forts. It boasts a university and the Qatar National Museum (currently closed for renovation), which opened 1975 in what was originally the ruler’s palace. As the country’s cultural and commercial centre, Doha enjoys excellent communications with the outside world through its modern seaport, airport and telephone links. The Al Jazeera Arabic satellite television news channel began broadcasting in 1996 with its headquarters in Doha. While Arabic is the official language, English is widely spoken.

Please Note: Conservative dress is required when going ashore. As a rule, women should not wear miniskirts, shorts or sleeveless tops and men should always wear a shirt in public.

Please do not photograph people without their permission, especially women. You may not take pictures of government buildings, embassies or anything military in nature, including airports.

Pier Information

The ship is scheduled to dock at Doha Port, a distance of 10-15 minutes from the town centre. Silversea will provide shuttle service to the City Centre Shopping Mall as taxis are generally not available at the port.

Note: Please be aware that lengthy Immigration formalities may delay going ashore.

Shopping

Doha is full of great shopping opportunities. While there are not many locally produced crafts, souvenir items can be found in traditional souqs and modern shopping malls. Whether purchasing or just browsing, shopkeepers in the souq will be happy to engage in conversation and bargaining. Souqs usually close between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. The City Centre Shopping Mall is with some 350 shops one of the largest modern shopping complexes in the Middle East. Marble floors and glass elevators leading to an ice-skating rink, bowling alleys and climbing walls, make this mall more of an event than a destination. The local currency is the Qatari rial; U.S. Dollars are widely accepted.

Cuisine

There is a staggering diversity of international cuisine to be had in Doha. All major fast foods are available – from burgers and pizzas to fish and chips.

Other Sites

Al-Corniche
One of the major highlights of Doha is unquestionably the seaside Corniche. Doha Bay was carefully constructed with landfill to make an attractive crescent, along which runs a charming area of shaded footpaths and cycling tracks. Other points of interest include the Al-Bandar restaurant complex, the famous Pearl Monument, moored dhows, a park and enchanting views.

Government House
Opened in 1969 it is considered the nation's most prominent landmark. In 1971 it became the capitol of the independent Qatar.

Heritage House
Dating from 1935 and formerly the Ethnographic Museum, the wind tower house is the only remaining building of its kind in Doha, and something of a rarity in the Gulf region. The structure uses a stone tower with open arches to provide ventilation and cool the interior. It is no longer officially open to the public. However, employees of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture who now occupy the building may possibly allow you to enter to just take a look, if asked.

Doha Fort
This old fortification is quite an impressive sight with its Moorish architecture. It offers a great photo opportunity.

Private Arrangements
For those guests interested in touring at your leisure, we are pleased to offer both half-day and full-day private arrangements by private car or van. You may book this in advance at www.silversea.com or it may be purchased on board, subject to availability. Other private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Tour Office on board.

Doha,