Qatar Country Facts

قطر‎ – Qaṭar
Capital city Doha
Surface 11,437 km²
Population 2,795,000
Road network length 1,230 km
Length of highway network 731 km
First highway about 2005
Motorway name السريعة / Expressway
Traffic drives Right
License plate code Q

Qatar (Arabic: قطر ‎ Qatar), formally the State of Qatar (Arabic: دولة قطر ‎ Dawlat Qatar) is a small country in Asia, located on the Persian Gulf. The capital is Doha and the country has 2.8 million inhabitants and is about a quarter of the size of the Netherlands.


Qatar forms a peninsula in the Persian Gulf, part of the Arabian Peninsula, and borders the Persian Gulf on three sides. The country has one land border; with Saudi Arabia. To the west is the island of Bahrain, to the southeast the United Arab Emirates. The capital Doha is located on the east coast, outside this city there are few other centers of importance. The country measures 190 kilometers from north to south and 80 kilometers from east to west. Qatar is quite flat and consists entirely of desert. The country has a hot desert climate, with average maximum temperatures ranging from 22°C in January to 42°C in July.


Almost all residents of Qatar live in the city of Doha, there are hardly any other places of any size. The population has grown enormously since independence. At independence only 111,000 people lived in Qatar, which increased to more than 2 million in 2014. However, a large part of the population are guest workers. In 2013, of the 1,903,000 inhabitants, only 278,000 were Qataris, the rest are expatriate. Arabic is spoken in Qatar, but non-Arabic speakers make up a large majority of the population, English is spoken by a larger part of the population than Arabic.


With an income of $128,700 per capita, Qatar is the richest country in the world. Its prosperity is mainly due to oil exports, which account for 70% of the government budget and more than 90% of exports. Like most countries on the Persian Gulf, Qatar is trying to reduce its dependence on oil exports. There is no income tax in Qatar and the taxes, along with neighboring Bahrain, are among the lowest in the world.


In early history, the area was governed by various Arab kingdoms, pearls were an important source of income from the Middle Ages. At the beginning of the 16th century, the area was under the control of Portugal for some timeLater that century, the area came under Ottoman rule. However, the Ottomans had little military clout in this area and were driven out by Arab tribes in 1670. In the 150 years since then, the area has been under the rule of various Arab tribes. From 1825 the area was under the administration of the House of Al Thani. However, the Ottomans managed to regain control of the area from 1871, with the daily administration performed by the House of Al Thani. At the end of World War I, Qatar took part in the Arab uprising against the Ottomans, then became a British protectorate in 1916. Oil reserves were found in 1939, but oil production was delayed by the Second World War. In 1949 the export of oil started and became the main source of income.

Qatar gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1971 and is still governed by the House of Al Thani. Qatar played an important role during the First Gulf War in 1990-1991, also because of the location of American, Canadian and French bases in the country. In 2003, Qatar was again a base for the US invasion of Iraq. Qatar, despite its small size, became an influential country in the Arab world, against the wishes of Saudi Arabia. In 2017, neighboring Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed ties with Qatar and imposed a blockade of the country. Since then, Qatar has been dependent on aviation and maritime transport for transportation.

Road numbering

The road numbering consists of radial roads from Doha with one number, Route 1 to the north and Route 5 to the southwest. Two-digit routes are branches or intersecting roads of these, the first number being equal to that of the main route network of the radial roads. Two three-digit roads are known.

A new style of signage was introduced in 2019, the road numbering has not been changed on a large scale, but the prefix ‘Q’ was used for the main roads of Qatar. The Route 1 thus became the Q1. Numbers Q2 and Q4 were newly introduced for the Orbital Road. A D-numbering system was also introduced for the important roads of Doha, mostly the ring roads.


The signage in Qatar is similar to that of Bahrain, with blue signposts on motorways and green on the secondary road network. The signposts are in both English and Arabic. For local targets, white areas with black letters are used. Blue signposts are also used for some non-motorways.


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