WATCH: Al Zubarah - Qatar’s very own UNESCO heritage site

WATCH: Al Zubarah - Qatar’s very own UNESCO heritage site

QL Videos
By QL Videos

Al Zubarah, the abandoned remains of an Arabian pearl-merchant town, stands as a legacy of the development of trading society in the Gulf during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is Qatar’s first and only UNESCO heritage site. 

Although brought under government protection since 2009, it was one of 19 sites that were added by the World Heritage Committee to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2013.

Now no more than an outline of stones among the desert sands, Al Zubarah nevertheless shows a complete urban plan of the town that once existed there, giving us an idea of people’s interaction with desert and sea through its layout and the artifacts found therein.

The remains outline town streets, ancient residential palaces, markets, houses and mosques. Al Zubarah was a successful port in its time, and this is partly what brought about its end. It was burnt to the ground and abandoned in 1811, after a series of attacks. 

At its peak, the population of Al Zubarah is though to have been between 6,000 and 9,000 people. Qatar was one of the poorest areas in the Gulf at that time, but since the discovery of oil and gas in the region, its population has swelled to over 2 million.

UNESCO and Qatar Museums are currently working on preserving the site and protecting it from the harsh desert and coastal conditions so that future generations may visit and learn of the past.  

PC: Rafeek Machayil

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