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Qatar has one of the world’s largest reserves
of petroleum and natural gas.
Qatar gained independence in 1971. Doha is the capital. The name Doha may have originated from the Arabic Ad-Dawha, "the big tree", with reference to the big tree that stood on the site where the original fishing village arose. Today, Doha is considered the outstanding "Jewel of Qatar". The highest land in Qatar is 103m.
We had a sightseeing city tour before heading for the atmospheric Souq (Souq Waqif) in "Old Doha", which is one of the most bustling areas of the city. Evolved from a weekend market where the Bedouins traded meat, wool and other products, it is now a maze of narrow alleyways filled with small shops, with goods piled high to the ceilings and spilling out onto the pavement, and with separate sections selling dress, tools, general hardware, spices, incense, Arabic perfumes, sweets and dried fruits.Highlights are the Falcon Souq as well as the Gold & Diamond Souq and the Spice Street & Animal Souq.
Falconry plays a huge part in Qatari society and Falconers take excellent care of their cherished birds. The Souq has its own entrance with an expensive, gilded plaque and three life-size sculptures of falcons. Inside the souq shops visitors can see the falcons and falconry equipment. The shops are filled with falcons of all sizes, skill levels, and prices. The hooded birds are tethered to their perches in a sand pit and can be examined by potential buyers. There are also a vast variety of falconry accessories for sale. Falconry equipment includes leather hoods for the bird’s eyes, cuffs and gloves for falconers, feathered lures to exercise and train birds, leg restraints and perches to keep the bird tethered, medicines and veterinary supplies, among other things. Many of these articles including the hoods are made by hand by local craftsmen.Falconers also bring their expensive birds for regular care and maintenance including nail trimming, feather care, and routine checkups at the Falcon Hospital.
Museum of Islamic Art
The Museum of Islamic Art is aiming to hold the largest collection of Islamic art in the world - a bridge from the past to the future of artworks dating from the 7th to the 19th century, representing the full scope of Islamic Art. It includes manuscripts, ceramics, metal, glass, ivory, textiles, wood and precious stones from three continents.