Forts of Qatar

A reflection of the past

Within a rapidly developing architectural landscape, Qatar’s historic fortresses and palaces are a true stand-out feature. They embody the richness of ancient construction techniques, and our team have been working to restore and protect them.

While towers in villages safeguarded the wealth of the community, many of the forts protected the coastline against marauders and invading armies, and date back to the 19th century.

Al Rakayat Fort

The fort of Al Rakayat, north west of Doha, is one of several desert forts dating back to the 19th century, and one of the few that were renovated during the 1980s.

A freshwater well sits in the fort and the scattered remains of a village can be found nearby. Al Rakayat is the Arabic word for ‘well’ and it’s believed that the fort was built to protect the essential sources of water in the area. It is typical of desert forts, with three rectangular towers and one cylindrical one. Three sides of the central courtyard are aligned with narrow rooms, without windows and doors, that open onto the light and spacious courtyard.

Other forts to explore

Ancient forts and their remains are spread across northern parts of Qatar. Al Zubarah is the most iconic but there are others on the north-western coast that can also be visited in Freiha, Ruwayda, Al Yousufiya and Bir Hussain, as well as Thaqab and Zikrit, which controlled access to the Ras Brouq peninsula.

On the eastern coast, there are forts at Al Huwaila, Zarqa and Athba, and in the areas surrounding Doha, at Al Koot, Umm Salal Mohammed and Al Wajba, Qatar’s oldest fort that witnessed Qatar’s defeat of Ottoman forces.

Aerial view of Al Rakayat fort
Aerial view of Al Rakayat fort
Ancient forts and their remains are spread across Qatar

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