Al Khor (city)

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Al-Khor
الخور
City
Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Far view of Al Khor Fort, Shops in Al Khor, Al Furjan Market in Al Khor, Harbor at noon
Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Far view of Al Khor Fort, Shops in Al Khor, Al Furjan Market in Al Khor, Harbor at noon
Al-Khor is located in Qatar
Al-Khor
Al-Khor
Location in Qatar
Coordinates: 25°41′24″N 51°30′36″E / 25.69000°N 51.51000°E / 25.69000; 51.51000Coordinates: 25°41′24″N 51°30′36″E / 25.69000°N 51.51000°E / 25.69000; 51.51000
Country  Qatar
Municipality Al Khor Municipality
Population (2004)[1]
 • Total 31,547
Time zone UTC+3 (AST)

Al Khor is a coastal city in northern Qatar, located 50 kilometres north of the capital, Doha. It is the capital city of the municipality of Al Khor. The name of the city means creek in Arabic; it was given this name because it is located on a creek. Al Khor is home to many employees of the oil industry due to its proximity to Qatar's northern oil and natural gas fields, and due to its proximity to the Ras Laffan Industrial City. It is one of the proposed venues for the Qatar 2022 World Cup. [2]

History[edit]

Residential neighbourhood
Main road through centre, with shops

Historically, Al Khor was ruled by the Al Muhannadi, a tribe which consists of several Bedouin families. According to oral tradition, Al Khor was first settled by the Al Muhannadi tribe in the late 18th century.[3] The settlement expanded its borders after one of their hunting groups discovered a substantial water source near the coast in the mid-19th century.[4] This led them to construct Ain Hleetan Well, which helped sustain the villagers' basic needs. Some locals believed that water obtained from Ain Hleetan possessed medicinal properties.[5]

J. G. Lorimer's Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf gives an account of Al Khor (referred to as Khor Shaqiq) in 1908:

"Generally pronounced as Shajij or Shagig. The name of an inlet and of the village which it contains, upon the east side of the Qatar Promontory: the entrance of the inlet, which is shallow and runs about 4 miles inland, is situated between Ras-an-Nof and Ras Matbakh, about 26 miles north of Doha. Khor Shaqiq is frequently called "Khor-al-Mahandah [Muhannadi]," or simply "Khor," in contradistinction to "Al Khuwair," on the other side of the peninsula.
The village stands on the south side of the inlet, near its foot; not far from it is a hill, surmounted by a watch tower, and under the hill is a well of good water called Halaitan. Al Thakhira is only 4 miles to the northward of Khor Shaqiq and is reached by a track which turned the foot of the inlet and then crosses a level plain. Four miles south of Khor Saqiq is Halat Wabil, an island-reef, still covered at high-tide but said to be rapidly increasing in elevation. The village consists of about 400 mud and stone houses of Mahandah (Al Muhannadi), half of the Al Hasan and half of the Misandah section, to whom belong 80 pearl boats [manned by 1200 men], 90 other sea-going vessels and 30 fishing boats, besides 100 camels."[6]

Due to the continuous expansion at Ras Laffan Industrial City, the number of facilities and services available in the town is rapidly increasing. In October 2015, Ashghal (Public Works Authority) revealed that it would be investing billions of Qatari riyals into developing infrastructure in Al Khor. Its plan includes the creation of additional hospitals and schools, and the refurbishment of the road system.[7]

Geography[edit]

Qatar's capital, Doha, is located at a distance of 57 km to the south. Other distances include Umm Salal Ali – 32 km to the south, Zubarah – 46 km away, Madinat ash Shamal – 47.2 km away, Al Wakrah – 44.7 km away, and Dukhan – 86.7 km away.[8]

Climate[edit]

The following is climate data for Al Khor City.

Climate data for Al Khor City
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 20.5
(68.9)
22.5
(72.5)
27
(81)
32.5
(90.5)
39
(102)
41.5
(106.7)
42
(108)
40.5
(104.9)
39
(102)
35
(95)
29
(84)
23
(73)
32.6
(90.7)
Average low °C (°F) 12
(54)
13.5
(56.3)
16
(61)
21
(70)
25
(77)
26.5
(79.7)
28.5
(83.3)
27.5
(81.5)
26
(79)
23.5
(74.3)
20
(68)
14
(57)
21.1
(70.1)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 11
(0.43)
1.5
(0.059)
2
(0.08)
6.5
(0.256)
1
(0.04)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.25
(0.0098)
13.5
(0.531)
22
(0.87)
57.75
(2.2758)
Average relative humidity (%) 61 60 56 53 49 50 51 57 60 63 69 74 59
Source: Qatar Statistics Authority[9]

Sports[edit]

One major sports stadium currently exists in the city: Al-Khor SC Stadium, whose tenants are Al Khor SC. Al Bayt Stadium is planned to be completed by the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Al Bayt Stadium, which translates to 'the house', is designed to replicate a traditional tent used by Qatari nomads. The seating capacity will be 60,000 spectators and it is set to host one of the semi-finals.[10] The Italian industrial group Salini Impregilo was contracted to oversee the stadium's construction operations for a fee of QR 3.1 billion.[11]

Health[edit]

Al Khor Hospital Training Center

The city is currently served by Al Khor General Hospital, which is under the auspices of Hamad Medical Corporation. It has a bed capacity of 115 and was opened in May 2005 as the first multi-specialty healthcare facility situated outside of Doha.[12] Health services provided by the hospital include general medical care, general surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics and neonatal care.[13] There are also a number of health centers, one of the largest being Al Khor Community Medical Centre.[14]

Ashghal (Public Works Authority) announced their intent to open a hospital with a bed capacity of 500 at a cost of QR 3.6 billion by 2017. Also included in the plan was a modern health center.[7]

Education[edit]

Harbour

In 1952, the city witnessed the opening of the first formal school outside of the capital Doha.[15] The city's first public library was opened in 1977.[16]

Al Khor International School is the main school in Al Khor, accommodating 4,000 students of families employed by RasGas and Qatargas. In 2015, a government-sanctioned plan saw the allocation of QR 200 million towards building new schools with a planned completion date of late 2016.[7]

Residential projects[edit]

Families of RasGas and Qatargas are provided with accommodation in Al Khor Housing Community, one of the most sizable residential complexes in the country. An investment of over QR 2 billion has been afforded on the complex over the years by Alaqaria, a subsidiary of Barwa Group.[17]

Visitor attractions[edit]

Al Khor Museum
Fountain Plaza at Al Khor Park

Attractions in Al Khor include Al-Sultan beach hotel & resort, a palace that turned into a hotel, and its large concentrations of modern and historical mosques. The main industry of the city is fishing. There are several beaches surrounding Al Khor, and the beaches south of it are home to many beach houses owned by both residents of the city and residents of Doha.

Al Khor Mall is the primary mall in the city, opening its doors in 2012.[18] The city's first cinema was slated to open in Al Khor Mall at the end of 2015.[19]

The city has one of the largest parks - Al Khor Park in Qatar with an area of 240,000 sq m. Starting in June 2010, the government has invested QR 250 million in refurbishing the park.[20] This has resulted in the development of new facilities in the park such as a mini-golf course, a railway station and a museum.[21] Renovated Park was opened officially on February 18th 2016.

Located in a former two-level police station along the coast in Al Khor City is the Al Khor Archaeological Museum. It houses artifacts collected from expeditions carried out in the municipality.[22] On the ground floor of the museum, handiwork relating to Qatar's cultural heritage are on display, and there are exhibits on the maritime traditions historically engaged in by Qataris, such as fishing and ship-building. Ancient artifacts obtained from excavations, including those done on the dye industry in Al Khor Island, are hosted on the first floor, as well as geographic maps of Al Khor. On the second level, visitors are provided with a view of the bay and docks near the museum.[23]

Al Khor Beach
Entrance to Al Khor Park

Natural attractions[edit]

Al Khor Island (commonly known as Purple Island) is located near the city. Considered to be a domestic ecoturism destination, the island is connected to Al Khor by a tapered dirt path which runs through a number of streams.[24]

A fenced-off beach known as Al Khor Family Beach provides a recreational space for families. It is situated on the Farkeeh Coast and accommodates bathrooms, a playground and a concession stand.[25]

Historic sites[edit]

Three historic watchtowers remain near Al Khor's shoreline, having been built in the late 19th century to early 20th century. Their primary purposes were to provide a vantage point and to scout for potential attacks. The three towers, each cylindrical in shape, have walls that are 60 cm thick and diameters of approximately 4 m each.[26]

Comprising two houses adjacent to a marketplace, the Al Ansari Property is situated in the central part of Al Khor. It was constructed around 1930 for members of the Al Ansari family, whom also owned the neighboring Al Khor Souq, which dates back to 1910. The houses underwent several expansions after their construction in order to lodge more family members.[27]

Culture[edit]

A well-known local myth is that of May and Gilan, the alleged progenitors of the sail. According to tradition, in old times, a wealthy man named Ghilan resided in Al Khor. Besides commanding a crew of sailors and fishermen, he owned numerous pearling boats. As time passed, a woman named May who commanded superior number of boats and crewmen emerged as Ghilan's main adversary. In an incident in which both crews were attempting to harvest the same pearl bed, May taunted Ghilan as her ship raced past his. This incensed Ghilan, who set out to discover a way to best his competitor. While observing a grasshopper, Ghilan took note of how its wings worked, and applied the same principle to his boats, giving rise to the sail. This enabled his boats to travel at higher speeds, allowing him to outpace May's boats to the densest pearl beds. The myth is typically presented in five sequences and is unlike most other known Bedouin stories. According to locals of Al Khor, the myth originated from the Al Muhannadi tribe of Al Khor. The story is not well-known elsewhere in Qatar.[28]

Transport[edit]

Turkish company Tekfen was contracted to construct the $2.1 billion Al Khor Expressway in August 2016.[29] The expressway is designed to be 34 km in length and will run from Doha Golf Club in Al Egla, a locality of Al Daayen, up to Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor City. A designated bicycle lane and ten interchanges are to be incorporated as part of the project.[30]

Air traffic control tower at Al Khor Airport

Commutes between the capital Doha and the municipality of Al Khor are currently facilitated by Al Shamal Road and Al Khor Coastal Road, with the latter road running through Al Daayen and the former running through Umm Salal.[31]

Al Khor and Ras Laffan are connected through Al Huwailah Link Road. In November 2014, the 16-km road was ameliorated by increasing it from one lane to four lanes.[32] A project launched by Ashghal (Public Works Authority) called the "New Orbital Highway and Truck Route" is planned to link Al Khor with the south-eastern coastal city of Mesaieed.[33]

Aviation traffic is controlled by Al Khor Airport. The airport is mostly used by general aviation aircraft and has served as the venue of the annual Al Khor Fly-In since 2008. The fly-in lasts for two days and allows visitors to travel in and spectate aircraft. Aircraft from other GCC countries are showcased at the event.[34]

Administration[edit]

When free elections of the Central Municipal Council first took place in Qatar during 1999,[35] Al Khor was designated the seat of constituency no. 26.[36] It would remain the headquarters of constituency no. 26 for the next three consecutive elections until the fifth municipal elections in 2015, when it was made the headquarters of constituency no. 25. Also included in its constituency is Simaisma, Al Daayen Village, north Lusail, and Ras Matbakh.[37] In the inaugural municipal elections in 1999, Rashid Jassim Al-Mohannadi won the elections, receiving 63.3%, or 283 votes. The runner-up candidate was Saleh Majed Al-Mohannadi, whose share of the votes was 12.3%, or 54 votes. Voter turnout was 83.4%[36] Al-Mohannadi retained his seat in the 2002 elections.[38] For the 2007 elections, Saqer Saeed Al-Mohannadi was elected.[39] He once again won the next elections in 2011 to retain his seat.[40] The 2015 elections saw Nasser Ibrahim Al-Mohannadi elected constituent representative.[37]

Demographics[edit]

The following table shows the population of Al Khor.[1][41]

Al Khor Population
Year Population
1986 8,993
1997 17,793
2004 31,547

Twin towns and sister cities[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Population and social statistics". Qatar Statistics Authority. 2004. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  2. ^ Saraiva, Alexia. "Get To Know The 8 2022 Qatar World Cup Stadiums". ArchDaily.
  3. ^ "الخور" (in Arabic). Al Jazeera Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  4. ^ Adel al-Moslimani (6 July 2014). "Qatar's wells and springs: clues to early settlements" (PDF). Gulf Times. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  5. ^ "Wells of Qatar". Qatar Museums. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  6. ^ "'Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. Vol. II. Geographical and Statistical. J G Lorimer. 1908' [1754] (1877/2084)". Qatar Digital Library. Retrieved 29 July 2015. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. ^ a b c Lesley Walker (23 October 2015). "Five reasons you should consider moving to northern Qatar's Al Khor". Doha News. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Qatar in Figures" (PDF). Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics. 2015. p. 9. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  9. ^ "Temperature/Humidity/Rainfall". Qatar Statistics Authority. Archived from the original on 22 March 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  10. ^ Elysia Windrum (22 June 2014). "Nomadic tent design for Al Khor World Cup stadium revealed". Doha News. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  11. ^ Lesley Walker (9 July 2015). "Italian firm wins QR3.1bn contract to build Qatar's Al Khor stadium". Doha News. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
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  14. ^ "Medical & Dental". Al Khor Community. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  15. ^ Abdulla Juma Kobaisi (1979). "The Development of Education in Qatar, 1950–1970" (PDF). Durham University. p. 38. Retrieved 19 December 2015.
  16. ^ Abdullahi, Ismaïl (2009). Global Library and Information Science - a Textbook for Students and Educators. IFLA Publications; 136/137. München: K.G. Saur. p. 424. ISBN 978-3-598-22042-5.
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  26. ^ Jaidah, Ibrahim; Bourennane, Malika (2010). The History of Qatari Architecture 1800-1950. Skira. p. 60. ISBN 978-8861307933.
  27. ^ Jaidah, Ibrahim; Bourennane, Malika (2010). The History of Qatari Architecture 1800-1950. Skira. p. 198. ISBN 978-8861307933.
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  30. ^ "Closure of northern section of Al Khor Coastal Road to enable construction works of Al Khor Expressway Project". Qatar is Booming. 10 October 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  31. ^ "Ashghal to close section of Al Khor Coastal Road for Expressway Project". The Peninsula. 11 October 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
  32. ^ "Qatar's Al Huwailah Link Road opens to public". Road Traffic Technology. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  33. ^ "New Orbital Highway and Truck Route". Ashghal (Public Works Authority). Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  34. ^ Shabina S. Khatri (10 January 2014). "Seventh annual Al Khor Fly-In kicks off this weekend". Doha News. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  35. ^ "Central Municipal Council". Government Communications Office of Qatar. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  36. ^ a b "إنتخابات الدورة الأولى" (in Arabic). Central Municipal Council. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  37. ^ a b "مقـار الدوائـر" (in Arabic). Ministry of Interior (Qatar). Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  38. ^ "الدورة الثانية" (in Arabic). Central Municipal Council. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  39. ^ "إنتخابات الدورة الثالثة" (in Arabic). Central Municipal Council. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  40. ^ "رابعاً: إنتخابات الدورة الرابعة كشف بأسماء السادة المرشحين الفائزين في عضوية انتخابات المجلس البلدي المركزي (الدورة الرابعة - 2011م)" (in Arabic). Central Municipal Council. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  41. ^ "Population from 1986–2009". Qatar Statistics Authority. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  42. ^ "カタール国表敬訪問 平成17年" (in Japanese). Chita City. 9 May 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  43. ^ "Khor, South Korea's Gangnam become sister cities". uscpublicdiplomacy.org. Gulf Times. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 30 May 2018.