Qatar is a peninsula located halfway down the west coast of the Arabian Gulf - jutting out from Eastern Saudi Arabia.
Background: Ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-1800s, Qatar transformed itself from a poor British protectorate noted mainly for pearling into an independent state with significant oil and natural gas revenues. The current Emir HAMAD bin Khalifa Al Thani, over threw his Father in a bloodless coup in 1995. In 2001, Qatar resolved its longstanding border disputes with both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Oil and natural gas revenues enable Qatar to have a per capita income not far below the leading industrial countries of Western Europe.
Population: 1,500,000approx (2009 census)
Size Area: 11,437 km (square)
Calling Code: +974
Currency: The official currency is the Qatari Riyal (QR), which is divided into 100 Dirhams. The Exchange parity has been set at the fixed rate of US $ = 3.65QR's.
Languages: Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language
Religion: Muslim 77.5%, Christian 8.5%, other 14% (2004 census)
National Holiday: The 18th of December every year in commemoration of Sheikh Jasim bin Mohammad Bin Thani the founder of the State of Qatar.
Weather & Climate: The weather in Qatar is usually quite hot during the summer months but relatively pleasant from about October to March. There is very little rain throughout the year.
General: The country is one of the wealthiest in the world (due to oil reserves mainly) and boasts a great infrastructure, low crime rate, good weather in the spring and winter, and a great hospitable culture.
The main city is Doha, a small but highly contemporary city with great restaurants, hotels, and other amenities. 83% of inhabitants reside in Doha and its main suburb Al-Rayyan
Qatar is somewhat of a liberal country, compared to others in the region, and clothing styles of Westerners usually aren't a problem.
Friday and Saturday are the weekend holidays.
Local time is 3 hours + Greenwich Mean Time.
Visit visas can be issued on arrival to passport holders from certain countries. These visas cost a minimal fee.