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Al Khor (city)

Coordinates: 25°41′24″N 51°30′36″E / 25.69000°N 51.51000°E / 25.69000; 51.51000
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From top, left to right: Far view of the Al Khor Towers, Shops in Al Khor, Main road through centre, with shops, Harbor at noon.
Al-Khor is located in Qatar
Location in Qatar
Coordinates: 25°41′24″N 51°30′36″E / 25.69000°N 51.51000°E / 25.69000; 51.51000
Country Qatar
MunicipalityAl Khor Municipality
ZoneZone 74
District no.269
 • Urban
4.4 sq mi (11.4 km2)
 • City61,877
Time zoneUTC+3 (AST)

Al Khor (Arabic: الخور, romanizedAl Khawr) is a coastal city in northeast Qatar, located 50 kilometres (31 mi) north of the capital Doha. Considered one of Qatar's largest cities, it is the capital city of the municipality of Al Khor and Al Thakhira. Dating back to the 18th century, it is one of Qatar's oldest settlements. The name of the city, meaning creek in Arabic, emerged because the original settlement was built on a creek. Until the mid-1900s, it was known as Khor Al Shaqiq.[3]

Originally a fishing and pearling village, much of Al Khor's recent growth has been due to its proximity to Qatar's northern oil and natural gas fields and to Ras Laffan Industrial City. Along with neighboring Al Khor Community, it hosts a large number of oil workers. Al Khor Island, an important archaeological and tourist site, can be found to the northeast of the city. It was also the venue for the opening game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.[4]


Initial settlement[edit]

Far view of Ain Hleetan Well
The Persian Gulf as seen from Al Khor Corniche

According to oral tradition, Al Khor was first settled by members of the Al Muhannadi tribe in the mid-18th century,[5] possibly around 1750, making it one of the oldest settlements in the country.[3] Various versions of the story exist, but one version states that two nomadic Al Muhannada tribesmen, Mohammed bin Baddah and Majid Al Shuqairi, had gone in search of their missing camels. While searching, they discovered a stream of fresh water in a depression underneath a high ground, later to be known as Ain Hleetan. Further exploration also unveiled a suitable docking platform on a shallow tidal creek, which led to the area being settled by the whole of the Al Muhanada tribe after relocating from their home in Al Khuwayr, north-east Qatar. According to an alternative version of this story, it is stated that the two cousins stumbled upon Al Khor after unsuccessfully chasing down a hare, rather than searching for their lost camels.[3]

It was decided that the name of the town would be prefixed with 'khor' which is the Arabic translation of 'creek', however, multiple names were used in the settlement's initial stages. The two most popular names were 'Khor Al Muhanadah', named after the founding tribe, and 'Khor Al Shaqiq', which is named after the incision in the wood used in constructing sailboats, a craft for which the settlement was well known.[3] Of these two, 'Khor Al Shaqiq' was the more commonly used variant. Carsten Niebuhr, an 18th-century German explorer who visited the Arabian Peninsula, created one of the first maps to depict the settlements of Qatar in 1765 in which he denoted 'Adsjar', possibly referring to Al Khor.[6]

Primarily a pearl diving and fishing village, the majority of activity took place during the summer when the pearling season was in full swing. During the winter, the nomadic tribesmen would rear livestock throughout the interior.[3] The locals fetched their drinking water from a well known as Ain Al Jahsha, located a distance of about 10 km to the west of the settlement.[5] Another closer-by water source, Ain Hleetan, was also used by the residents, and some even believed that water obtained from Ain Hleetan possessed medicinal properties, leading to it gaining the moniker of "the doctor".[7]

19th century[edit]

In the 1820s, George Barnes Brucks carried out the first British survey of the Persian Gulf.[8] He recorded the following notes about Al Khor, which he referred to as Khore Sheditch: "Khore Sheditch is a small boat harbour, to the southward of Ras Mut Buck, having from one and a half to two and a half fathoms water in it ; its entrance is in lat. 25° 40' 10' N., long. 51° 34' 50' E. The point at the entrance of Khore Aegarah is in lat. 25° 43' 10" N., long. 51° 36' 40" E. The Khore is small, having only one fathom in it."[9]

In the 19th century, several other tribes within the country began migrating to Khor Al Shaqiq as a result of its reputation and its well-known spring, Ain Hleetan. The two main tribes, Shahwan and Bani Hajer, soon intermarried with the Al Muhannada tribe and formed new families, including the Al-Baddha, Al-Missned, Al-Hassan and Al Arbeed. Further migrants came from the Utub, Al Manasir, and Al Dawasir, as well as immigrants from Persia and Najd. As a result, Khor Al Shaqiq represented a wide range of diverse cultures and ethnicities at the time. At around 1850, many of these tribes decided to unite to officially form the Al Muhannada tribal confederation.[3]

In 1871, the Ottoman Empire expanded its reach into Eastern Arabia. After establishing themselves on Al-Hasa coast, they advanced towards Qatar. Abdullah II Al-Sabah of Kuwait was sent to the town to secure a landing for the Ottoman troops, bringing with him four Ottoman flags for the most influential personages in Qatar. One of these flags was destined for Ali bin Abdul Aziz, the ruler of Khor Al Shaqiq.[10]

For defensive purposes, in the 1890s sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani ordered all of Qatar's northernmost settlements, including Al Khuwayr and Ar Ru'ays, to be evacuated and its inhabitants moved to Al Bidda, Al Wakrah and Khor Al Shaqiq, leading to a considerable size increase for the village.[11]

20th century[edit]

One of the surviving Al Khor Towers
A historic mosque in Al Khor

To protect both the coveted Ain Hleetan Well and the town's fledgling harbor, the villagers built the Al Khor Towers around 1900.[12] Originally a collection of eight towers, only three survived throughout the ages. Multiple different families were tasked with maintaining and renovating each tower.[3] Located next to these towers at the northern boundary of Al Khor was the Barahat Al-Jawhar, a cultural venue of unknown origins dating back to either the late 19th century or early 20th century. Holidays, cultural activities such as ardah performances, and wedding celebrations were held here due to the large amount of open space in this structure. It had arches on all sides, its façade had geometric patterns and it was built of a type of stone not naturally found in the region. Cannons belonging to the Ottoman garrison at Al Khor were found inside, suggesting it may have been built by the Ottomans for a defensive purpose.[13]

During the 20th century, drinking water was obtained primarily from the Umm aş Şuwayyah area to the southwest of the village, as this well was renowned for its water's freshness. Women would fetch this water in pots and place them on the backs of donkeys to be transported back to the village. There were also several springs in the village, among them, Ain Sadd, Ain Salam, Ain Al-Dab, and Ain Masoud. Each spring was named after the individual responsible for excavating it. Furthermore, the village's basic water needs were met by three primary reservoirs: Al-Jalta Dam, a cement dam built inland in Al Egda, the Ain Al-Dab Dam built near the Al Khor Police Station on the coast, and the Roza Dam, built to the north near what is today Al Thakhira Road.[14]

The village had an international presence during this period, with frequent trade missions taking place to the coast of Fars. Their relationship was so extensive that it was even incorrectly speculated by English diplomat Charles Belgrave that the Al Muhannada originated from Iran.[3] Goods that were brought back from trading missions would then be sold at one of the village's three primary souqs.[14]

Captain Francis Prideaux, who was the British political resident in Bahrain, remarked in 1906 that, although Al Bidda was firmly under Al Thani-rule, the tribes of northern settlements, including Khor Al Shaqiq, did not pay tribute to the sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, nor did they consider themselves subjects of his.[15]

It was remarked by the British Political Resident in Bahrain in 1939 that the Al Muhannadi in Al Khor had about 600 fighting men led by Sheikh Ahmed Bin Essa, and were closely tied to the Bani Hajer tribe.[16] In 1950, anthropologist Henry Field paid a visit to Qatar, publishing his findings one year later. While there, he interviewed Mansur bin Khalil, a local sheikh, who informed him that the population of the Al Muhannadi in Al Khor numbered approximately 2,000 people. Some lived in tents while others resided in primitive stone dwellings.[17]

Lorimer report[edit]

J. G. Lorimer's Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf gives an account of Al Khor (referring to it 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," 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."[18]


Satellite view of Al Khor at night

Modernization began in the town starting in the 1940s and 1950s, after Qatar started reaping the benefits of its newly discovered oil fields. The first paved road connecting Al Khor to the capital Doha was constructed in the 1940s, and in the 1950s, the town constructed its first hospital. A primary school followed shortly after. The town also began to be referred to simply as 'Al Khor' rather than 'Khor Al Shaqiq'.[3] At this time, most of Al Khor's houses, built out of stone, were located along the beachfront, being connected by a series of narrow alleyways. Many were two-story houses with cooling rooms on the top floor for summer months. In 1965, the city was integrated into Qatar's electrical grid.[14]

In the early 1960s, pan-Arabism had established itself in the peninsula, and in 1963, the Qatar National Unity Front was created. The movement, which opposed royal privilege and advocated for increased workers rights, had a stronghold in Al Khor.[19][3] One of its leaders belonged to the Al-Missned sub-tribe of the Al Muhannada, and the group enjoyed a popularity among the residents. In retaliation, a small number of high-ranking Al Thani members suggested bombing Al Khor, though this idea was dismissed.[20] After the Qatari government cracked down on the group, in 1964 they banished many members of the Al Muhannada to Kuwait, where they would remain for several months before returning to Qatar after mediation from the Saudi government.[3] It was also stipulated that each tribe member was to pledge allegiance to the emir of Qatar, and those who refused would stay in exile.[20]

In July 1972, Al Khor Municipality was officially established with Al Khor as its seat. Following this decree, the government began large-scale development projects in the town, which included replacing all old housing units and establishing government office branches in the town.[3] Residences on the shorefront were demolished, making way for modern housing built on higher elevations.[21] Also in the early 1970s, Al Khor Health Center was inaugurated.[3] By the 1980s, the primary and secondary road system for Al Khor was developed by the Ministry of Public Works.[22] In 1983–84, Al Khor was included as part of a major project by the Ministry of Public Works valued at QAR 535 million to develop sewage infrastructure in major settlements outside of Doha.[23]

21st century[edit]

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.[24]


Satellite imagery of Al Khor 2010
Vegetated landscape to the north of Al Khor, east of the Al Jebail water treatment plant

Qatar's capital, Doha, is located 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.[25]

Al Khor overlooks a sheltered bay upon which Al Khor Island (also known as Purple Island and Jazirat Bin Ghanim) lies. The width of the bay ranges from 2.2 to 6.5 km. It is linked to the open sea by a channel with a width of roughly 750 meters on its southern end.[26] The area is home to extensive stands of mangroves, which cover an area of about 168 hectares off the coast.[27]

In a 2010 survey of Al Khor's coastal waters conducted by the Qatar Statistics Authority, it was found that its average depth was 5 meters (16 ft) and its average pH was 8.11. Furthermore, the waters had a salinity of 48.58 psu, an average temperature of 24.72 °C and 6.44 mg/L of dissolved oxygen.[28]


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
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 20.5
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 12
Average precipitation mm (inches) 11
Average relative humidity (%) 61 60 56 53 49 50 51 57 60 63 69 74 59
Source: Qatar Statistics Authority[29]


Workers unloading freshly caught fish at the harbor

An industrial center exists to the northwest of Al Khor known as Al Khor Industrial Area.


In terms of artisanal fishing vessels, Al Khor had the highest amount out of any city surveyed in 2015 at 234 vessels. The city also had the most sailors (1,408) and was also the only major city to record an increase in the rate of sailors from 2010 to 2015.[30] In 2019, the largest-ever expansion project of Qatari fishing ports was launched by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, which included an additional 208 parking lots for boats in Al Khor Harbor.[31]


Pediatric Emergency Center of Al Khor Hospital

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.[32] Health services provided by the hospital include general medical care, general surgery, obstetrics, pediatrics and neonatal care.[33] There are also a few health centers, one of the largest being Al Khor Community Medical Centre.[34]

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.[24]


In 1952, the city witnessed the opening of the first formal school outside of the capital Doha.[35] The city's first public library was opened in 1977.[36]

Al Khor International School is the main school in Al Khor, accommodating 4,000 students of families employed by QatarEnergy LNG. 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.[24]

Development projects[edit]

Al Khor Harbor

The Urban Planning & Development Authority conducted extensive surveying of Al Khor throughout 2007 and 2008 before officially publishing the 'Al-Khor City Master Plan 2032' in 2008.[37] Key features of the master plan include increased availability of public transport, extensive development along the city's 8 km of seafront and development of Al Khor Beach, a popular domestic attraction.[38]

Barwa Group carries out real estate projects in Al Khor through its subsidiary, Barwa Al Khor. In November 2008, the group unveiled its major 'Urjuan' project, which had a projected cost of $10 billion. Urjuan was described as a planned city capable of hosting 63,000 inhabitants spread over 5.5 million square km. The project had a planned completion date of 2013 and its plots were to be sold through several phases.[39] However, in December 2009, the project was indefinitely put on hold.[40]

Residential projects[edit]

Families of Qatargas were provided with accommodation in Al Khor Community, one of the most sizable residential complexes in the country. Al Khor International School is located within the community. An investment of over QR 2 billion has been afforded on the complex over the years by Alaqaria, a subsidiary of Barwa Group.[41]

Visitor attractions[edit]

Entrance to Al Khor Park

Parks and zoos[edit]

The city has one of the largest parks - Al Khor Family Park & Zoo 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.[42] This has resulted in the development of new facilities in the park such as a mini-golf course, a railway station and a museum.[43] The renovated park was officially reopened on 18 February 2016. The park also features a zoo, which hosts pandas, a first-ever in the Middle East.[44]

The Baladna complex, which contains Baladna Farm and Baladna Park, is a popular local destination catering to families. Occupying an area of 2.4 million square meters, the complex offers various outdoor activities and games. A zoo hosting various animal species is also found in the complex. Baladna also has a visitors center that provides educational tours of dairy production.[45]

Commercial attractions[edit]

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.[46] The city's first cinema was slated to open in Al Khor Mall at the end of 2015.[47]

Al Khor Corniche[edit]

Al Khor Corniche, overlooking the Persian Gulf

Al Khor Corniche is one of the most popular and accessible attractions in the city. A seafront promenade that runs for approximately 1 km and takes up over 28,000 square meters, the corniche is dotted by numerous cafes, green areas, and recreational areas. Commencing in 2017 and finishing in 2018, Ashghal (the Public Work Authority) refurbished the entire corniche. They added two children's play areas, bringing the total to five. They also improved accessibility for handicapped people, added over 6,000 square meters of green areas and over 250 seats, and replaced every tile of the walkway.[48]

Al Farkiya Family Beach

Natural attractions[edit]

Al Khor Island (commonly known as Purple Island) is located near the city. Considered to be a domestic ecotourism destination, the island is connected to Al Khor by a tapered dirt path that runs through several streams.[49]

A fenced-off beach referred to as either Al Farkiya Beach or Al Khor Family Beach provides a recreational space for families. Running for a stretch of about 1,350 meters,[50] is situated on the Farkeeh Coast and accommodates bathrooms, a playground and a concession stand.[51]

Historic architecture[edit]

One of the historic Al Khor Towers
Al Khor Museum

Three historic watchtowers, known as the Al Khor Towers, 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, have walls that are 60 cm thick and diameters of approximately 4 m each.[52]

Among the most notable of Al Khor's historic sites is Ain Hleetan Well, which oral tradition suggests led to the founding of the city in the first place. First built in the late 1800s of a mixture consisting of plaster, clay, and gravel, the water from the well was believed by locals to be of medicinal value. It is said that it was discovered by a group of hunters, and that its construction eventually led to the development of the surrounding area which evolved into the modern-day city of Al Khor. In recognition of its historic importance, a marketplace consisting of over 70 stores known as Ain Hleetan Market was erected near the well, bolstering its tourism potential. Qatar Museums is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the well.[53]

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 to lodge more family members.[54]

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.[55] 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 shipbuilding. 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.[56]


Two major sports stadiums currently exist in the city: Al-Khor SC Stadium, whose tenants are Al Khor SC and Al Bayt Stadium, which was completed for 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 is 68,895 spectators,[57] and it hosted the semi-final between France and Morocco on 14 December 2022.[58] The Italian industrial group Salini Impregilo was contracted to oversee the stadium's construction operations for a fee of QR 3.1 billion.[59]


Traditional Qatari music performed at Al Khor Mall
Public art at Al Khor Mall symbolizing Qatar's heritage

By the 1960s, three social and cultural clubs had formed in Al Khor: Al Ittihad, Al Asifah, and Al Kifah. The former of those clubs was founded in 1966 by Mohammed Ali Al Mohannadi under the name Al Najma before changing its name to Al Ittihad. The club hosted plays in its theater, which was in a residential house, and charged admission fees to attendees. Various social issues were often the subject of the club's plays. Aside from hosting plays and cultural performances, these clubs also organized amateur football matches.[14]

In 1982, the Ministry of Information established Al Khor Cultural Center in an attempt to conserve and document the local culture. This center was later put under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture. A separate women's section was opened in 2006 with its own library and offers workshops and education trips to heritage sites.[60] The Al Khor Girls Center was established by decree of the Minister of Culture (Decision No. 39 of 2011) and officially inaugurated on 6 June 2012. The center aims to provide girls a platform to learn about and practice local customs and values.[61]

Qatari Arabic, the dialect of Gulf Arabic spoken in Qatar, varies slightly between the bedouin populations and the hadari (urban) populations. There has been a growing trend in Al Khor and other towns in Qatar to adopt urban linguistic features. Bedouins are transitioning to the hadari dialect to align with the cosmopolitan, educated, and sophisticated lifestyle epitomized by Qatar’s royal family.[62]


Ardah performances by the Al Muhannada take place in public venues during holidays, Al Khor being the only town in Qatar other than Abu Dhalouf where such performances by a tribe take place.[3]

A folk music band known as Al Khor Band performs at local events, such as Qatar National Day and the Eid Al-Fitr Festival held in Doha.[63]

Ibrahim Ali is a notable musician from Al Khor, being a founding member of Qatar's first musical troupe, Al Adwaa, in 1968. He specialized in playing the oud and is considered a pioneer in Qatari music. He was a part of a local band at one point, Dar Al Khor.[64]


Traditional rowing boat used by the people of Al Khor on display at the Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani Museum

In Qatari folklore, the tale of May and Ghilân has been celebrated as a foundational narrative, often recounted through oral tradition. The Arabic term hikâya, translated as legend or story, encapsulates the essence of this tale. Ghilân, a prominent figure in Qatar's maritime history, is revered as the progenitor of pearl fishing, the historical mainstay of Qatar's inhabitants.[65]

The narrative unfolds in Khor Al Muhanadah (now Al Khor), where Ghilân, an affluent boat owner, commands a fleet of vessels engaged in pearl fishing. His authority is challenged by the arrival of May, a daring woman who emerges as a formidable competitor in the industry. Despite Ghilân's initial dominance, May's superior boats and crew pose a formidable threat to his supremacy.[65]

A pivotal moment occurs when May's boats, propelled by skilled rowers, outpace Ghilân's vessels on the route to the pearl oyster beds. When her boat outpaced that of Ghaylen, he became irritated and implored her for assistance in towing. She responded with a sarcastic remark: “the rope is in the minds of paddles.” During that era, pearl fishing was commonly conducted using row boats.[66] In a moment of indignation, Ghilân devises a cunning strategy to regain his advantage. Inspired by the sight of a grasshopper's wings, he conceives the idea of utilizing sails to harness the wind's power. The implementation of sail technology enables Ghilân's boats to surpass May's, leading to his triumph.[65]

The tale intertwines themes of competition, innovation, and gender dynamics, reflecting the complexities of traditional Arabian culture. May's boldness challenges conventional gender roles, while Ghilân's strategic prowess reinforces his status as a revered leader.[65]

While the legend of May and Ghilân has endured within Qatari folklore, its widespread dissemination has been limited primarily to the locality of Al Khor. According to tradition, the myth originated from the local Al Muhannadi tribe. Despite efforts to preserve oral traditions, the story's transmission has been widely reduced after several generations.[65] A written version of the legend is currently on display in the Al Khor Museum.[3]


Air traffic control tower at Al Khor Airport


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.[67]


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.[68]

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.[69] Qatar's longest highway, Al Majd Road (formerly known as the Orbital Highway), links Al Khor with the south-eastern coastal city of Mesaieed.[70]

Al Khor Road[edit]

Al Khor Coastal Road

Most notable among Al Khor's road connections is Al Khor Road, also known as Al Khor Expressway. Construction on it began in 2016 after Turkish company Tekfen was contracted to construct the road for $2.1 billion.[71] The road runs for 33 km and has 29 tunnels and 5 bridges. It is the main route connecting metropolitan Doha and Lusail with Al Khor, terminating at the Al Bayt Stadium. Over 20 residential areas are served by the road, including Simaisma, Umm Qarn and The Pearl, and the industrial hubs of Mesaieed and Dukhan are indirectly served by the road via its intersection with Al Majd Road. Vital tourist destinations served by the road include Al Farkiya Beach, Katara Cultural Village and Simaisma Beach.[72]

In 2020, an Olympic cycling track was opened to the public. It stretches for almost 33 km to the immediate west of the highway. Connected to the cycling path is a 38 km-long pedestrian path which has 18 underpasses, opened a year later in 2021. In September 2020, the development was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for two separate accolades: having the longest unbroken expanse of paved asphalt at 25.275 kilometers, and having the most expansive cycling track connected to the highway, at 32.8 km.[73]


As of 2019, the elevated Al Khor Metro Station is under construction, having been launched during Phase 1A. Once completed, it will be part of Doha Metro's Red Line North.[74]


When free elections of the Central Municipal Council first took place in Qatar during 1999,[75] Al Khor was designated the seat of constituency no. 26.[76] 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.[77] 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%[76] Al-Mohannadi retained his seat in the 2002 elections.[78] For the 2007 elections, Saqer Saeed Al-Mohannadi was elected.[79] He once again won the next elections in 2011 to retain his seat.[80] The 2015 elections saw Nasser Ibrahim Al-Mohannadi elected constituent representative.[77]


Excavation of the Kassite dye site on Al Khor Island

Due to its sheltered bay, wealth of mangroves, and favorable geography, Al Khor has been inhabited for thousands of years and has several archaeological sites of interest. Ruins of a workshop, residences, and a cemetery have been discovered within city confines, and pottery has been unearthed which evidences trade relations between Al Khor's ancient inhabitants and nearby civilizations.[81]

Al Khor Island[edit]

At Al Khor Island off the bay, excavations have uncovered four main periods of occupation, dating from as early as c. 2000 BC to as late as 1900 AD. The island is best known for being the site of operation of a Kassite-controlled purple dye industry in the second millennium BC.[82]

Neolithic cemetery[edit]

A cemetery of at least 18 cairns is found in Wadi Al Jalta, approximately 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) west of the city, situated atop a hillock and separated from the city by a sabkha (salt flat). It was uncovered in 1976 by the French Archaeological Mission in Qatar and was dubbed "F.P.P." in the team's reports. Béatrix Midant-Reynes, a member of the team, excavated eight of the burial mounds starting in 1976. The first grave excavated had a length of roughly 2.6 meters, a width of 1.6 meters, and was 20 centimeters tall. Two roof slabs that measured 40 by 50 centimeters and 60 by 30 centimeters, respectively, were used as cover for the cairn. Four layers of stone slabs were found in the mound. Underneath the slabs was a sandy pit containing sea snail shells.[83]

The second grave excavated by the team was more substantial in size, having a length of 3.5 meters, a width of 3 meters, and stood 30 meters tall. Decayed skeletal remains were uncovered in this grave. Similar to the other grave, flat stone slabs were also discovered in this mound, some fitted into the bedrock, however, no pit was found. Fifteen sea snails were discovered inside this cairn.[83]

More substantial finds would be recovered from the remaining six excavations. The team concluded that some graves were reserved for individuals while others were family burials. Artifacts uncovered included shell beads, obsidian beads, and carnelian beads. The cairns are of indeterminable age but are thought to date from some time in the Neolithic period,[84] possibly from 5,000 to 6,000 years ago. It has been speculated that, as sea levels would have been approximately 2 meters higher, the hillock containing the burial sites would have presented as an island during that period.[85]


Residential neighbourhood

The following table shows the population of Al Khor.[86][87]

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

Twin towns and sister cities[edit]


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