In our third and last day in Qatar, we thought about visiting one of the famous archaeological and the first UNESCO world heritage site in Qatar, which has been listed in 2013. Beside our interest to visit the archeological and historical sites, this site is mainly related to the history of the royal family in Bahrain “Al Khalifa”.
Al Zubarah fort is located in the north-west part of Qatar and around 100 km from the capital Doha. Because of Doha’s crowded roads that are being reconstructed for FIFA world cup 2022, it took us around two hours until we reached our destination. Once we got out of Doha we crossed a deserted highway, there were no buildings and in most cases we were the only car on the road. So anytime you plan a trip to the fort make sure to fill your car with petrol and take some water and light snacks with you!
The fort has been renovated and looks somehow new specially from inside. It had been well restored to protect it against the harsh desert conditions. Near the fort there are small cabins; one of them is a temporary museum which hosts some artifacts founded during the excavation. Inside the fort, don’t expect to see much, one courtyard surrounded by several corridors and rooms. Inside each room, there are several interactive screens including some information about the area, stories, conflicts about most famous tribes that settled in Al Zubarah. Unfortunately the rooftops and the towers were closed for maintenance, but as planned in the future the northwest tower will be open and from there a one will be able to look out over the site and the surrounding area.
The fort is built in 1938, under the rule of Shaikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, The town was first constructed in 1760s, but it came under attack and was destroyed in 1811. A smaller settlement was built on top of the ruins, but this too was destroyed in 1878. Today, the desert sands conceal 500 ruined buildings, long walls and towers, two screening walls and the sister settlement of Qal’at Murair, were the town’s fresh water wells were located. unfortunately we couldn’t see the town due to the excavation work going on the area.
We tried to search for more areas surrounding the fort using our GPS, but what made us really laugh is that the closest area is Sitra which is located in Bahrain and only 40 Km but through the sea. In our way back to Doha we saw different ruins and stopped to capture several photos.
However, If you are willing to visit Al Zubarah, you might would like to contact Qatar Museum who manage Al Zubarah archaeological site, and can arrange a tour to the fort with a guide. you can sign up from here.