Qatar, a historical hamlet in the Middle East is home to some mesmerizing locations. From archaeological sites to ancient gems hidden from the rest of the world, the country has it all. In fact, there are many forts in Qatar that date back a long way in time and have played a crucial role in Qatar's eventful history.

For historical explorers, these sites are a medium of diving deep into the past of the country. So, let's take a look at some of the top forts to visit in Qatar during your expedition.

List Of Top Forts In Qatar To Watch Out For

  • Al Koot Fort
  • Al Zubarah Fort
  • Al Wajbah Fort
  • Al Thaqab Fort
  • Barzan Towers
  • Zekreet Fort
  • Ar Rakiyat Fort
  • Qal'at Murair

1. Al Koot Fort

Al Koot Fort

One of the most popular Qatar forts rooted in the heart of the country, the Al Koot Fort can be found in the most popular location of Doha right next to the amazing marketplace of Souq Waqif. As history has it, the fort was built in the year 1880 in order to protect Souq Waqif from thieves during the early days of the country. The fort was built by Sheikh Abdulla bin Qassim Al Thani and served as a prison initially.

Later, however, Al Koot Fort was also turned into a police station while what remains today is a majestic piece of history with its three cylindrical and one rectangular tower. Thanks to its gorgeous white structure, this famous fort in Qatar features as a background for most wedding photographs in Doha today.

So, if you're coming to Souq Waqif for shopping, take some time out to visit the Al Koot Fort, a majestic piece of history in Doha.

Location - Ukaz St, Doha, Qatar

Opening Hours - 8 AM to 12 AM

Built In - 1880

Interesting Fact: The Al Koot Fort was abandoned by the Ottomans in around 1927 and was rebuilt by Qassim Al Thani. Today, it is a museum in Doha.

2. Al Zubarah Fort

Al Zubarah Fort

Another famous fort in Qatar set on the outskirts of Doha, the Al Zubarah Fort Qatar is a fine piece of history that was originally built in 1938. One of the finest places to visit in Qatar today, the Al Zubarah Fort was built by Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani and served as a coast guard station initially.

However, later the coast guard station was decommissioned and the fort was turned into a police station much like the Al Koot Fort. With one rectangular tower and three circular towers to make up for the structure, the Al Zubarah Fort Qatar has a common design like many of the other forts in the country.

For its interior, the fort has rooms made of compressed mud and cement. There are some amazing artworks and highly valuable archeological things that travelers can find in Qatar. In fact, this is a site that is not to be missed when exploring the outskirts of Doha. Since the fort remains closed only on Friday mornings, travelers have enough time to explore this historical gem.

Location - Al Zubarah, Qatar

Opening Hours - 8 AM to 4 PM (Closed for Friday morning prayers)

Built In - 1938

Interesting Fact: The Al Zubarah Fort was part of the Qal'at Murair settlement which was fortified in order to protect the city's inland wells.

3. Al Wajbah Fort

Al Wajbah Fort
Image Credit

Another famous fort in Qatar nestled just 15 kilometers away towards the west of Doha, Al Wajbah Fort is set in the ancient city of Al Rayyan and is regarded as one of the oldest forts in the country. Interestingly, the Al Wajbah Fort has a major place in the history books and was built in 1882. The fort served as a residence for Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani and played a crucial role in the defeat of the Ottoman army in 1893 when they were defeated by Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani's army on the same grounds.

For historical explorers, the fort is a majestic piece of history, and its main highlights are its four watchtowers. One can find some valuable remains of the past here which is a sight you don't want to miss. Although a visit to this fort is one of the best things to do in Qatar, travelers can only plan their visit during the working days as the fort remains closed for the public from Friday to Sunday.

Location - Doha, New Al Rayyan, Ar-Rayyan, Qatar

Opening Hours - Monday to Thursday - 8 AM to 5 PM (Closed from Friday to Sunday)

Built In - 1882

Interesting Fact: The Al Wajbah Fort underwent renovation during the late 20th Century which largely contributed to its looks today.

4. Al Thaqab Fort

Al Thaqab Fort
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Nestled about 12 KM to the south Al Ruwais, the Al Thaqab Fort is another ancient paradise that travelers can look forward to when exploring Qatar. This famous fort in Qatar has its origins that date back to the 17th or 18th century. In the opinion of natives and historical explorers, the fort was built in order to protect the well which can be found towards the west of the fort.

Villagers living in the region used to take water from this well. One of the most historic forts in Qatar today, the Al Thaqab Fort was not just a fort that protected the well water but it also served as a shelter for the locals during an attack.

But there's one thing that cannot go unnoticed about the fort. Its origin still remains in the dust as not one historical expert or native has been able to provide concrete evidence of its origins. While some say that the fort was built in the 17th or 18th Century, others argue for the 19th Century.

Location - North Road, Qalaat al Thaqab, Qatar

Opening Hours - Travelers are advised to confirm the precise timings of Al Thaqab Fort with the local authorities. The fort remains closed on Fridays.

Built In - Although its origins are unknown, the fort is believed to have been constructed between the 17th and the 19th Century.

Interesting Fact: The word Thaqab means, "the water in the bottom of the valley after the rain." Hence, all claims surrounding the well and the fort seem almost true.

5. Barzan Towers

Barzan Towers

A famous fort in Qatar that travelers can find in the suburbs of Doha, Barzan Towers present one of the most fascinating historical sights in Qatar and easily feature amongst the top places to visit in Doha. Nestled in the Umm Salal Mohammed Village, the towers are also referred to by the name Umm Salal Mohammed Fort Towers.

Built in the late 19th Century, Barzan Towers were renovated later in 1910 and had an important role to play. These were the very towers that were used as observatories to determine the dates of the Lunar calendar. Moreover, the Barzan Towers also played a crucial role in the region as they were used as watchtowers for the protection of water resources in the region.

So, why not come and witness this ancient marvel in Qatar? If you're planning your visit to Barzan Towers, the best time to visit here is during early mornings and evenings as the temperatures during this time are favorable enough for visitors to explore the site without having to bear the scorching heat of Qatar. In fact, travelers usually plan their visit to Barzan Towers usually between 2 to 7 PM.

Location - Umm Salal, Doha, Qatar

Opening Hours - Open 24 hours

Built In - Late 19th Century

Interesting Fact: Although Barzan Towers are built with no cooling systems, the interior of the towers feels much cooler than outside, thanks to the thick walls and certain renovations that have been done to the site.

6. Zekreet Fort

Zekreet Fort

Another significant site in Qatar where travelers would love to visit, the Zekreet Fort is another famous fort in Qatar that is rooted on the west coast of the country much close to Dhukan. As far as historical places in Qatar go, this is a fort that attracts many historical explorers from around the world. Many come here just to admire the unique architectural build of the fort while others come here to discover the hidden wonders.

Boasting of its unique design, the fort was built somewhere between the 18th and 19th Centuries and had to undergo reconstruction. In fact, the Zekreet Fort in Qatar underwent two phases of reconstruction which saw four towers being added to the outer four corners of the fort. Initially, the fort was built only as a square structure without any towers.

Location - Zekreet, Qatar

Opening Hours - Open all 24 hours

Built In - Between the 18th and 19th Century

Interesting Fact: The Zekreet Fort was first built by Rahmah ibn al-Jalahimah. However, the construction was not completed at the time.

7. Al Rakiyat Fort

Al Rakiyat Fort
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Another fort nestled in the northwest end of Qatar in the municipality of Al Shamal, Ar Rakiyat Fort is believed to have been built in the 19th Century and is another fort that was renovated years after its construction. While being renovated during the 1980s, the fort was built in order to protect the essential sources of water in the area.

Interestingly, the fort is much like any other fort one would find in the desert region of Qatar. Just like every desert fort has rectangular and cylindrical towers, Al Rakiyat Fort too has three rectangular towers and one cylindrical one which makes it typical of any other famous fort in Qatar.

As for the whole of the fort, the Ar Rakiyat Fort has a central courtyard with three sides and narrow rooms. There are, however, no windows or doors in the rooms which may otherwise lead to the courtyard.

But hang on, there's more to the Ar Rakiyat Fort than being a mere protection point for the water supply. This was, in fact, the lifeline of the village as most villagers took freshwater from the well that was present in the fort. Hence, the fort has played a crucial role in the history of Qatar and today stands as a majestic piece of history in the country.

Location - Municipality of Al Shamal in Qatar

Opening Hours - Travelers are advised to confirm the opening hours of Ar Rakiyat Fort from the concerned authorities.

Built In - Somewhere between 18th and 19th Centuries

Interesting Fact: Ar Rakiyat Fort not just protected the water supply but also used it as a defensive structure for the villagers during the 18th and the 19th Century where there was a time of conflict.

One of the most historical countries in the world, Qatar has more than a thing or two to surprise you. As far as historical tours go, there are many forts in Qatar that have played a big hand in shaping the history of the country while they also provide a glimpse into the traditional architectural form of the region.

So, what are you waiting for? Wish to explore the historical marvels of Dawlat Qatar? Book your flight to Qatar and come catch a glimpse of the historical wonders in the country.

FAQs

Q1. Which is the best historical site close to Souq Waqif?

The Al Koot Fort can be found in the most popular location of Doha right next to the amazing marketplace of Souq Waqif. As history has it, the fort was built in the year 1880 in order to protect Souq Waqif from thieves during the early days of the country.

Q2. What is the best time to visit Qatar?

The best time to visit Qatar is between November and March. This is a period when the temperatures in the country are slightly lower when compared to the rest of the year. Travelers can enjoy sightseeing easily when coming to Qatar during this time.

Q3. Which are the best places to visit in Qatar?

Some of the finest places to visit in Qatar include - Souq Waqif, Pearl Qatar, Doha Corniche, Al Zubarah Fort, National Museum of Qatar, Museum of Islamic Art, Al Thakira Natural Reserve, Katara Beach, Sealine Beach, Banana Island, Katara Cultural Village, etc.

Q4. What were Barzan Towers used for?

The Barzan Towers were used as observatories to determine the dates of the Lunar calendar. Moreover, the towers also played a crucial role in the region as they were used as watchtowers for the protection of water resources in the region.

Q5. Which are the best hotels in Qatar?

Qatar is a country that houses some of the most lavish hotels in the world. The top ones include - Banana Island Resort, Four Seasons Hotel Doha, Grand Hyatt Doha, InterContinental Doha, JW Marriott Marquis City, AlRayyan Hotel Doha, Curio Collection by Hilton, etc.

Q5. Which are the best hotels in Qatar?

Qatar is a country that houses some of the most lavish hotels in the world. The top ones include - Banana Island Resort, Four Seasons Hotel Doha, Grand Hyatt Doha, InterContinental Doha, JW Marriott Marquis City, AlRayyan Hotel Doha, Curio Collection by Hilton, etc.

Q6. Which are the top museums in Qatar?

As far as museums go, there's no better place in the Middle East than Qatar. The country has some of the finest museums in the world. The top ones include - Museum of Islamic Art, National Museum of Qatar, Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum, Museum of Illusions, etc.

Q7. When was Al Thaqab Fort built?

The origin of Al Thaqab Fort still remains in the dust as not one historical expert or native has been able to provide concrete evidence of its origins. While some say that the fort was built in the 17th or 18th Century, others argue for the 19th Century.

Q8. What is the significance of Al Wajbah Fort in Qatar?

The Al Wajbah Fort served as a residence for Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani and played a crucial role in the defeat of the Ottoman army in 1893 when they were defeated by Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani's army on the same grounds.