Qatar also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qatar, is an Arab country, known officially as an emirate, in the Middle East. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south; otherwise, the Persian Gulf surrounds the state.

Qatar is an oil- and gas-rich nation, with the third largest gas reserves, and the first or second highest GDP per capita in the world. Qatar has been ruled by the al-Thani family since the mid-1800s and has since transformed itself from a British protectorate noted mainly for pearling into an independent state with significant oil and natural gas revenues.

The State of Qatar is one of the most exciting countries in the Middle East, with the population predominantly young, the economy expanding, and the pace of modernization quickening every year.

A member of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, Qatar has hosted meetings of the World Trade Organization and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. It is the home of Al-Jazeera Satellite Channel and of the Qatar Foundation's Education City, one of the most ambitious and far-reaching centers for education and research in the Middle East.

A peninsula of some 5,000 square miles, Qatar has a landscape of sand dunes in the south and flat, rocky desert with scattered cultivation in the north. The climate is mild and pleasant in winter with occasional rainfall, while the summers are hot and frequently humid.

With economic prosperity came the development of a modern infrastructure: transport and telecommunication links, schools, hospitals and public health clinics. The University of Qatar was founded in 1973. Once the Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani assumed power in 1995, the pace of change accelerated.

Useful Information

Time Zone
Qatar time is three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 7/8 hours ahead of New York EST/DST. There is no daylight savings time in Qatar.

Qatar has a pleasant climate nine months of the year with hot summers and relatively warm winters. In the summer, the temperature ranges between 77-120 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity. The temperature is eased by air conditioning in the vast majority of homes and workplaces. During the summer, most people take holidays or spend more time indoors. Sports, entertainment and leisure facilities are available in a vast array of recreation areas including clubs and hotels. Winter is dry and resembles early fall in North America. Temperatures range from 50-75 degrees Fahrenheit, with the cooler temperatures prevailing in the evenings. Rainfall is minimal, averaging three inches per year. Sand storms, haze and dust storms are common.

The Qatari Riyal (QR) is the currency of the country and $1 U.S. purchases QR3.65 (fixed rate). Most major establishments accept major credit cards; some will accept U.S. Dollars.

Land area
The total land area of Qatar is approximately 11,521 km2.

The population of Qatar amounts to 1,679,110 inhabitants. 83% of inhabitants reside in Doha and its main suburb Al- Rayyan.

Official Language
Arabic is the official language in Qatar, and English is widely spoken.

Islam is the official religion of the country, and the Shariah (Islamic law) is a main source of its legislation.

Major Towns
Doha, Al Wakrah, Al Khor, Dukhan, Al Shamal, Mesaieed, Ras Lafan and others.