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    This landlocked country mixes the cultures of the Indian sub-continent with the high Himalayas. Explore Nepal!

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    Japan: Traditional foods. Go Now!

    Japan has a rich culture that is visible today in the country's dress, architecture, language, food (pictured), and lifestyle. Begin Your Journey!

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    Bahrain: Desert. Go Now!

    This tiny country has overcome the desert and has found a way to thrive, like this tree on al Jazair Beach. Explore Bahrain!

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QatarQatar's name likely comes from the town of Zubara, which was historically called Qatara.


Qatar is a desert peninsula jutting into the Persian Gulf, which is seemingly inhospitable and nearly unlivable. There is little rain, no rivers, and few plants, meaning people must live off the sea to survive, which they have done throughout history. The earliest people had nothing more than the sea life, dates, and camel milk for survival, but today the outlook is quite different as the historically small population has grown to huge numbers.

The people living on this peninsula historically survived on limited resources, but in the modern day the country simply imports everything needed including food and water. This transition began to take place with the pearl industry, which was sourced partially from this region. The demand for pearls led to economic growth and trade, shifting the way of life from one wholly dependent on the land and sea to one primarily dependent on outside products through trade.

This dependency on outside products expanded with the discovery of oil in the 1930s. Oil led to greater profits, but also growing needs in Qatar; workers were needed, new machinery and technology was needed, and the oil needed to be sold and transported. As money flowed into the country the dependency on foreign goods, and later foreign workers, increased and continues to increase today.

The locals and foreigners alike are reliant on imported foods, goods, and even water, but their economy can support these needs as long as oil continues to be drilled. Without this commodity, life in Qatar would be nearly impossible since it would be economically infeasible to afford importing nearly every item needed for survival. However, oil does exist so the population, wealth, and technology continue to improve and the culture in the country continues to reflect this lifestyle.

The different lifestyles between the local and foreign workers are in stark contradiction. The foreigners living in Qatar tend to live as they did in their home country, whatever country that may be. Conversely, the local citizens maintain some historic traditions, but also rely on modern technology and enjoy luxury goods to suite their improving lifestyles. The citizens are easy to spot as they maintain traditional dress and tend to live their lives according to the moral and ethical code of Islam.

It is Islam that perhaps best defines the historic culture in Qatar today as most aspects of the traditional cultures have been lost to time and technology. However, Islam remains at the heart of the local culture, affecting the way people dress, eat, and interact. This religion, which the people have followed for centuries, has rules that dictate what can, or cannot, be consumed, how people should dress, how people may date, and more. These beliefs and attitudes have permeated the culture and even today these religious rules strongly affect the people and culture.

The maroon on Qatar's flag is for the bloodshed in Qatari wars and the white represents peace. The nine white points represent Qatar as the ninth member of the "reconciled emirates" after the Qatari-British Treaty of 1916.

Name: State of Qatar
Independence: September 3, 1971
Capital: Doha
Currency: Qatari Riyal
Population: 2,042,444 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Citizenship is Arab, but much of population is foreign
Language: Arabic
Religion: Muslim

Information for Qatar was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks