Al Wakrah

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This article is about the city in eastern Qatar. For the municipality in which the city is located, see Al Wakrah (municipality).
Al-Wakrah
الوكرة
City
Al-Wakrah is located in Qatar
Al-Wakrah
Al-Wakrah
Location in Qatar
Coordinates (Al Wakrah): 25°10′48″N 51°36′36″E / 25.18000°N 51.61000°E / 25.18000; 51.61000Coordinates: 25°10′48″N 51°36′36″E / 25.18000°N 51.61000°E / 25.18000; 51.61000
Country  Qatar
Municipality Al Wakrah Municipality
Area
 • Total 66.3 km2 (25.6 sq mi)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 79,457
 • Density 1,200/km2 (3,100/sq mi)
Time zone East Africa Time (UTC+03)
ISO 3166 code QA-WA

Al-Wakrah (also spelled Al Wakra) (Arabic: الوكرة‎) is the capital city of the Al Wakrah Municipality in Qatar. Al Wakrah's eastern edge is the shores of the Persian Gulf. Ruled by the Al Khater family and the Al-Buainain tribe, it was originally a small fishing and pearling village. Over the years, it evolved into a small town with a population of more than 30,000 and it is considered to be one of the major cities in Qatar.

History[edit]

Pre-independence of Qatar[edit]

The city of Al Wakrah was founded by the Al Khater family; an offshot of the Al-Buainain tribe of Banu Tamim.[citation needed] The city was historically used as a pearling center[2] during years of which Qatar's economy was almost entirely dependent on the bustling pearling industry.[3] In 1898, there were around 200 boats in the vicinity between Al Wakrah and Al Bidaa.[4] According to the United States Hydrographic Office, by 1920, there were approximately 300 ships situated in the town.[5] However, a British study carried out in 1925 states that there was 250 boats.[6] Al Wakrah was thought to encompass the so-called 'Pirate Coast' in correspondence with a report written in 1898.[7]

Al Khalifa rule (1783–1868)[edit]

According to records contained in the British India Library Office, the city numbered 250 houses and had a population of roughly 1000 in 1845.[8] The city was 10 miles away from one of Qatar's then-primary pearling villages, Al Bidaa. The records state that the inhabitants of Al Wakra were migrants from Al Bidaa. Al Wakrah was described as "independent of Bidaa and other towns; and as thriving and more cheerful in appearance than Bidaa, to which it was equal in size".[8]

In 1863, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa of Bahrain sent his cousin, Mohammed bin Ahmed, to act as deputy emir of Qatar. He was soon compelled by the Qataris to return to Bahrain after arresting and deporting the ruler of Al Wakrah. In 1867, Bahrain launched a war against Qatar after the Naim tribe defeated the Bahraini army situated in the Peninsula.[9] They succeeded in gaining support from Abu Dhabi, as Doha and Al Wakrah have long been harbors of refuge for Omani seceders. As a result, Al Wakrah was sacked by the combined Bahraini and Abu Dhabi forces.[10][11] A British record later stated "that the towns of Dohah and Wakrah were, at the end of 1867 temporarily blotted out of existence, the houses being dismantled and the inhabitants deported".

Ottoman rule (1871–1916)[edit]

Al Wakrah fort in 1908.

In 1885, a group of 100 Al Wakra natives from the Al-Buainain and Al-Jehran tribes left the town and settled at Al Ghariyah due to a dispute with Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani. A coalition, led by Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab, was formed to resist Sheikh Jassim. A meeting was summoned between Sheikh Jassim and Mohammed bin Abdul Wahab and the discussion was mediated by an Ottoman commander of an Al Bidaa-situated gun boat. The Ottoman commander's proposal that the coalition be left alone infuriated Sheikh Jassim. This incited tribesmen loyal to Sheikh Jassim to attack Al Ghariyah, but they were defeated, with the Bani Hajr tribe suffering a few casualties.[12]

At the end of 1902, the Ottomans instilled Ottoman administrative officials in Al Wakrah and Zubarah in an attempt to assert their authority. This was in addition to the already existing Ottoman administrative officials in Doha. An Ottoman, Yusuf Bey, was appointed as Mudir of Al Wakrah in the spring of 1903.[13] Due to British discontent, Yusuf Bey's appointment was short lived, and he was later called to act as the assistant Kaymakam of Qatar and did not return to Al Wakrah. Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani was appointed as Mudir by the Ottomans in place of Yusuf Bey the same year. This elicited fresh protests by the British government, who refused the Ottoman's rights to appoint any administrative official in Qatar.[14]

From December 1907, there were a series of disputes between the governor, Sheikh Abdulrahman, and the Al-Buainain tribe. The Al-Buainain tribe had objected to paying the annual boat tax, and in reprisal, the sheikh fined the tribe 10,000 Qatari riyals and expelled 6 of the tribe's leaders. As retribution, one of the tribe leader's sons attempted to shoot Sheikh Abdulrahman. His attempt was foiled, and he was imprisoned; however he was later procured forgiveness and released in return for the payment of the tax.[15] The Al Buainains sent an envoy, Ahmed bin Khater, to the Ottomans in Basra to request that a military garrison be erected in Al Wakra. The envoy returned with two letters from the Ottomans addressed to the sheikh of Qatar, Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani. A fortnight later, the Al-Buainain tribe appealed to a Mutasarrıf of Al-Hasa, Mahir Pasha. This reinvigorated tensions between the British and the Ottomans, owing to the British belief that this had provided latitude for the Ottomans to exercise more authority over the Qatar Peninsula.[16]

British protectorate (1916–1971)[edit]

A British survey carried out in 1925 recounts Al Wakrah in exhaustive detail. Concerning the infrastructure and borders, it asserts that most houses in Al Wakrah were made of mud and stone, as no other building materials were available. The town originally formed a compact block, but in the preceding years a detached quarter known as Rumailah sprung up about 800 yards northward. There were 8,000 inhabitants at the time of the census, with 2,000 individuals belonging to the Al-Buainain tribe, 1,500 to the Al-Huwala tribe, 850 to the Al-Khulaifat tribe, 1,000 black Africans, and 2,000 black African slaves. Other ethnic groups and tribes comprised the remaining 650 inhabitants. The Al-Khulaifat and Al-Maadeed tribes were described as being the sole inhabitants of the Rumailah quarter. The report also described the inhabitants of Al Wakrah as primarily being pearl divers, sailors and fishermen. It further reported Al Wakrah as being a market place with 75 shops.[7]

Post declaration of independence[edit]

Shell Roundabout in Al Wakrah

An urban development plan was enacted in Al Wakrah in 2008. The most prominent features of this plan were the development of Al Wakra beach, a development of the city center and the expansion of the southern portion of the city. The plan's main purpose was to improve the infrastructure in order to accommodate more than 600,000 residents.

The plans of the new stadium which is set to be constructed for the 2022 FIFA World Cup have caused considerable internet interest after being released in mid November 2013 because of the beautiful shape and colouring, which are said to resemble a vagina.

Historical architecture[edit]

Historic architecture can be seen almost everywhere in Al Wakrah and especially in its old areas and it is captured in mosques, old homes and harbour.[17] One of the main and old mosques in Al Wakrah, is Al Wakrah Grand Mosque. There is also Al Wakra castle or fort which was built above the ruins of an older castle that had also belonged to the Abdulghani house. It has two round towers and was used in the past as a police office. It dates back to the 20th century. In addition, the house of Sheikh Ghanim Bin Abdulrahman Al-Abdulghani is considered to be a significant architectural landmark on the beach. This building consists of two floors and windows are decorated in special shapes. It was restored in 2004 by the direction of Restoration Departments of Qatar Museums Authority (QMA).[18]

Climate[edit]

As in all the cities in Qatar, Al Wakra have a mild average temperature in the months January, February, March, November and December. The summer season is in April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November. Al Wakrah has dry periods in January, February, March, April, May, June, July and August. On average, the warmest month is July and the coolest month is January. The below table shows the records and averages of Al Wakrah temperature.[19]

Records and Averages of Al wakra
Month Avg. High MAvg. Low Avg. Precip
January 22.0 °C 13.0 °C 1.27 cm
February 23.0 °C 14.0 °C 1.78 cm
March 27.0 °C 17.0 °C 1.52 cm
April 32.0 °C 21.0 °C 0.76 cm
May 38.0 °C 25.0 °C 0.25 cm
June 41.0 °C 28.0 °C 0.00 cm
July 42.0 °C 29.0 °C 0.00 cm
August 41.0 °C 29.0 °C 0.00 cm
September 39.0 °C 27.0 °C 0.00 cm
October 35.0 °C 23.0 °C 0.00 cm
November 30.0 °C 20.0 °C 0.25 cm
December 24.0 °C 15.0 °C 1.27 cm

Future developments[edit]

The recreation area is currently being redeveloped. Plans for the area in the future include a wild life park and a country club. There is also going to be a "continuous public waterfront" offering activities for the public, two hotels and a golf course. A railway station will be located near the mosque, and there will also be a climate controlled underground pedestrian area.

Al Wakrah Hospital[edit]

Construction of new hospital in Al Wakrah

Al wakra Hospital is in the process of opening. It is a General Hospital donated for by Abdulghani which will initially have over 300 beds. With its associated buildings it covers an area of about 70,000m2. The hospital will provide state of the art Medical and Surgical facilities to the southern area, including Al Wakra and Mesaeed. The facilities will contain Medical, Surgical, Obstetrics, Gynecology and Children’s wards, as well as a specialist Neonatal Unit and day ward in a seven story central block.[20]

Al Wakrah Corniche[edit]

A big quota of public parks and entertainment projects has been allocated for Al Wakra. One of the projects is the corniche in north area of al Wakra. It will be for families only and will provide all necessary amenities and services for both adults and children, so that they can spend quality time with their families.

Wakra Mall[edit]

The multi-storeyed mall located at opposite to Al Wakra Hospital,[21][22]

Wakrah's new downtown[edit]

A souq in Al Wakrah

Wakrah's New Downtown regional center has been divided into seven segments. They include Wakrah Gateway, Wakrah South Square, Wakrah Festival Bay, Wakrah Sands, Wakrah Residence, Wakrah College and Wakrah Trade Center.

  • The Wakrah Gateway is an exclusive zone for major government and public offices.
  • South Square will witness a mix of office complexes, residential apartments and middle and lower level retail outlets.
  • The Festival Bay will be an exciting area marked by at least two resort hotels, business investment hotels, maritime museum at water front, marina, arts and cultural centre.
  • Wakrah Sands will be dotted with family parks, recreation precincts, commercial and cultural complexes.
  • Wakrah Residence is an area reserved for construction of multi-facility residential complexes.
  • Wakrah College is an exclusive zone reserved for educational institutions.
  • Wakrah Trade Center is meant for developing malls and retail outlets.

The master plan envisages Wakrah to be developed as a preferred waterfront destinations and a vibrant city where people would be really want to visit and stay over.Considering the city's heritage history, a separate area will be developed as a heritage zone. Re-establishing Al Wakrah city's historic core with distinctive sense of place and traditional architecture is another proposal.

Construction of quality villas, regional parks, waterfront public spaces are among other projects planned as part of the model township in Al Wakrah.

Sports[edit]

Al Wakrah Sports Club in 2011

Al Wakrah has a multi-sports club called Al-Wakrah Sports Club, whose football team competes in the top tier of Qatari football, the Qatar Stars League. The club’s home ground is Al-Wakrah Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium. Stadium has a capacity of 20,000 people and has plans of expanding to 43,500 for 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Transportation[edit]

Karwa Transportation company (Mowasalat) has conntected Al Wakrah to the rest of the cities in Qatar using its bus route. Currently, there are several buses operating there.[23] In the future, Al Wakrah is going to be part of the Qatar railway network.

In 2015, the Public Works Authority declared their plan to construct a free-flowing road directly linking Al Wakrah to Doha in order to decrease traffic congestion in Doha. It is set for completion by 2018.[24]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1986[25][26] 17,245 —    
1997[25][26] 24,283 +40.8%
2004[25][26] 31,441 +29.5%
2010[1] 79,457 +152.7%
c-census; e-estimate

As of the 2010 census, the settlement comprised 8,436 housing units[27] and 796 establishments.[28] There were 79,457 people living in the settlement, of which 75% were male and 25% were female. Out of the 79,457 inhabitants, 81% were 20 years of age or older and 19% were under the age of 20. The literacy rate stood at 98.4%.[29]

Employed persons made up 73% of the total population. Females accounted for 12% of the working population, while males accounted for 26% of the working population.[29]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns and sister cities[edit]

Al Wakrah is twinned with:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2010 population census" (PDF). Qatar Statistics Authority. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Schulte-Peever, Andrea; Shearer, Iain (1 September 2013). Oman, UAE & Arabian Peninsula. Lonely Planet. p. 279. ISBN 1742200095. Retrieved 12 January 2014. 
  3. ^ Fromherz, Allen (13 April 2012). Qatar: A Modern History. Georgetown University Press. ISBN 978-1-58901-910-2. 
  4. ^ "'Persian Gulf Gazetteer Part II, Geographical and Descriptive Materials, Section II Western Side of the Gulf' [53v] (109/286)". Qatar Digital Library. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Publications, Issue 158. United States Hydrographic Office. 1920. p. 112. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  6. ^ "'Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. Vol. II. Geographical and Statistical. J G Lorimer. 1908' [1925] (2052/2084)". Qatar Digital Library. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "'PERSIAN GULF AND GULF OF OMAN. RESOURCES AND COAST DEFENCES.' [18] (24/114)". Qatar Digital Library. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "'Persian Gulf Gazetteer Part II, Geographical and Descriptive Materials, Section II Western Side of the Gulf' [59v] (121/286)". Qatar Digital Library. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  9. ^ Reports of Judgments Advisory Opinions and Orders: 2001 Bound Volume. United Nations Publications. 2004. pp. 179, 180. ISBN 9210709802. 
  10. ^ "‘A collection of treaties, engagements and sanads relating to India and neighbouring countries [...] Vol XI containing the treaties, & c., relating to Aden and the south western coast of Arabia, the Arab principalities in the Persian Gulf, Muscat (Oman), Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier Province’ [113v] (235/822)". Qatar Digital Library. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  11. ^ "'File 19/243 IV Zubarah' [8r] (15/322)". Qatar Digital Library. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  12. ^ "‘Persian Gulf Gazetteer. Part 1. Historical and political materials. Precis of Turkish expansion on the Arab littoral of the Persian Gulf and Hasa [Al-Hasa] and Katif [Al-Qaṭīf] affairs.’ [56] (68/160)". Qatar Digital Library. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "'Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. Vol I. Historical. Part IA & IB. J G Lorimer. 1915' [354] (497/1782)". Qatar Digital Library. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "'Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf. Vol I. Historical. Part IA & IB. J G Lorimer. 1915' [831] (986/1782)". Qatar Digital Library. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "'Administration Reports 1905-1910' [147r] (298/616)". Qatar Digital Library. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "'Administration Reports 1905-1910' [201r] (406/616)". Qatar Digital Library. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "Home page". Qatar Living. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ "National and Local Weather Forecast, Hurricane, Radar and Report". The Weather Channel. 
  20. ^ "Corporate Website". hmc.org.qa. 
  21. ^ "Ezdan Mall - Al-Wakra". wikimapia.org. 
  22. ^ [2]
  23. ^ "الصفحة الرئيسية". mowasalat.com. 
  24. ^ "Ashghal unveils QR10bn projects for Mesaieed and Al Wakra". The Peninsula Qatar. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  25. ^ a b c "Population from 1986–2009". Qatar Statistics Authority. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  26. ^ a b c "Population and social statistics". Qatar Statistics Authority. 2004. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  27. ^ "Housing units, by type of unit and zone (April 2010)" (PDF). Qatar Statistics Authority. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  28. ^ "Establishments by status of establishment and zone (April 2010)" (PDF). Qatar Statistics Authority. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  29. ^ a b "Geo Statistics Application". Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics. Retrieved 7 August 2015. 
  30. ^ "Qatar: Emir Tamim meetings". gsn-online.com. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2015.