Qatar Your Historical Destination
Written by Oryx
Al Zubarah town, the only surviving remnant of its kind in the region, is one of Qatar’s authentic historical pearls. It has already made the tentative UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list and is awaiting news of full admission in the summer of 2012. The UNESCO nomination covers the important ruins of the town, which was a centre for pearl fishing and trade as far back as the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Visit the northwestern coast of Qatar and be transported back in time to charming traditions that still resonate throughout the country. First glimpses of this possible UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site emerge from the golden sands in the form of Al Zubarah fort, which is a later construction that has iconic value for Qatar. Just 2km to the west of the fort are the astonishing complete ruins of Al Zubarah pearl fishing village.
A tour of this charming area of Qatar offers not only insights into the unique pearling tradition that forms part of the country’s heritage, but also one of the largest archaeological research projects anywhere in the world at this moment. Around 50 archaeologists, conservationists, and heritage specialists collaborate in Al Zubarah during peak months, together with a dedicated team of 80 assistants. Working in the former centre of trade – which connected East Asia, Africa, and Europe – they have unearthed breathtaking examples of porcelain and ceramics from China and Europe within the buildings, some of them entirely intact!
One remarkable discovery – which underlines the romantic origins of Qatar’s pearl fishing heritage – is a 200-year-old depiction of a dhow, which was found on one of the walls in a courtyard house. The idea behind this innovative excavation and conservation work is to transform the northwest of the country into a culturally rich heritage area, where visitors can enjoy Qatari culture and history in natural surroundings. An ancient town complete with towers, mosques, a souq area, fortified palatial compounds, and stunning ceramics await discovery.
Conserving Qatar’s history
As part of the country’s continuing efforts to showcase the fascinating Qatari culture and history, the Qatar Museums Authority launched the Qatar Islamic Archaeology and Heritage Project (QIAH) in 2009. Involving a prestigious team of archaeologists from the University of Copenhagen, the purpose of the project is to promote the heritage and archaeology of Qatar.