Qatar will be the first state in the Middle East to host the FIFA World Cup. But it is not only exciting sports spectacles that are in store for visitors to the country. According to Berthold Trenkel, Chief Operating Officer of Qatar Tourism, “When travellers come to Qatar, they find the best of what the Middle East has to offer. It is a collection of adventures and experiences in one place that many people never knew they had. We offer all visitors and sports fans coming to Qatar to experience the country beyond soccer events, as every traveler will find something to suit their taste and budget. Did you know that…

Qatar is the safest country in the world. It has a very low crime rate. In 2022, as in previous years, the Numbeo Crime Index ranked Qatar as the safest country in the world and Doha as the second safest city in the world.

The name of the country has ancient Roman roots. Although today’s Qatar is a relatively young state (it gained independence from Great Britain only in the 1970s), references to the modern Qatar Peninsula go back centuries. The ancient Roman writer Pliny the Elder referred to the locals as Catharrei. The ancient mathematician, astronomer, and geographer Ptolemy produced a map of the peninsula and named it Catara, which is on display in the National Library of Qatar. This spelling was used for centuries until the words Katara and Qatar appear in the records of the 16th-century Portuguese explorers.

A map by Claudius Ptolemy in 170

The amazing heritage of the country is associated with the ancient purple trade. The first evidence of long-term human settlement in Qatar dates back to the 6th millennium B.C. Bronze Age monuments in Qatar are concentrated in the Al-Khor region, where Jazirat Bin Ghanim Island (also known as Purple Island), which was a major trading center, is located. In the 2nd millennium BC, purple was considered the most valuable dye, extracted from snails living in the sea and used to make the clothes of Roman emperors. Today, travelers can kayak through the island’s mangroves and watch the magnificent sunset from the cliffs.

Qatar is one of the few places in the world where the desert meets the sea. The most impressive dunes are near the “inner sea” Khor al-Adaid, where a unique ecosystem has developed, which includes flamingos, turtles, foxes and the national animal of the country – the Arabian Oryx. Tourists can drive to the “inland sea” and are also able to drive across the dunes in an off-road vehicle.

In Qatar, you can see one of the largest concentrations of whale sharks on the planet. They appear from April to September off the northeastern coast of the restricted marine area of Al Shaheen. These sea creatures, often called “gentle giants,” have been endangered since 2002. The largest fish in the world, the whale shark, can reach 20 meters in length.

All new major projects in the country are in line with the concern for sustainable development. This trend began more than ten years ago, when the bid to host the World Cup was won. The first sustainable project of its kind in the world was the Msheireb neighborhood in the center of Doha. The heart of the World Cup promises to be Lusail, the city of the future (the project cost $45 billion). This is the largest facility in Qatar, which includes many outstanding buildings, including the Katara Towers complex, which is about to open. Soccer stadiums comply with the same principles: sports events will be held with zero carbon emissions. For example, the 974 stadium, built from repurposed shipping containers, will be completely dismantled after the tournament.

Qatar is home to the most impressive cycle track in the world. The Olympic cycle track, which in 2020 was entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest continuous cycle track in the world. Its length is 33 km.

Olympic cycle track

The list of records continues with the tallest indoor roller coaster. Quest Doha, which opened in Doha in July 2021, completes the list of family and entertainment parks in Qatar. And it immediately set two Guinness World Records in the categories of “Highest Indoor Roller Coaster” and “Highest Indoor Freefall Ride”. The park is divided into three zones: Oryxville, dedicated to the ancient Arabian past; Imagination City, a reflection of the present; and the ultra-modern futuristic spaceport, Attraction.

The country’s airport and airlines have repeatedly achieved the highest recognition. Qatar Airways has been named “World’s Best Airline” and Hamad International Airport was named “World’s Best Airport” by Skytrax World Airport Awards 2021. Travelers transiting through Qatar can take advantage of the great deals on stopovers launched by Qatar Airways and Discover Qatar with the support of Qatar Tourism.

Qatar is one of the most accessible countries in the Middle East. Travelers from Russia can enter Qatar without a visa by filling out a simple online application form and providing a Sputnik V vaccine or COVID-19 certificate, as well as a certificate of antibodies and a PCR test. Learn more at

Photo: press service