Doha’s towering skyscrapers sit glistening in the blazing sun, majestically overlooking the luminous, turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf. Just further down the road, clustered near the iconic Museum of Islamic Art, a group of traditional, wooden dhow boats sit anchored to the moors, waiting patiently for their next fishing adventure. It’s a picture-perfect scene, rooted in the past and future, and an important reminder of Qatar’s undeniable history and connection to the sea.
Before the discovery of oil and gas, Doha was a quiet and sleepy town steeped in tradition and community. Dependent on the sea for pearl diving and fishing, Qatar was a perfect spot for international maritime trade with travelling merchants exchanging goods such as sandalwood and spices. Nowadays, Qatar’s maritime past can be seen in places such as Souq Waqif, the National Museum of Qatar, and annual celebrations such as the Dhow Festival.