Before 1949, Doha was a small village that survived by pearling and fishing. The city had about 350 pearling boats at the beginning of the 20th century, then the development of Japanese cultured pearls, and the worldwide economic depression of the 1930's, severely affected the town. Since the 1980’s, with the discovery of the world's largest known offshore gas field, Qatar now has the third-largest natural gas reserves in the world, making the country over two billion dollars, and making it one of the world's fastest growing, and highest per-capita income countries.
You will see a lot of pearl associated references all over town, especially on the "Corniche" (pronounced corneesh) where residents, as well as tourists, go to jog or just relax. The corniche is 7-miles long, and offers paved walkways, grassy knolls, and gorgeous views of the Arabian Gulf. From here you can see out over the turquoise blue water and Palm Tree Island. I’ve never seen water this shade of blue. It’s beautiful.
Due to the natural gas discovery, Doha is slowly becoming a major hub for business. The downtown area is building high rise office buildings at a quick rate. They’re even building a new and improved airport, to handle all the new flights that will be coming and going. As we drove out to the sand dunes (see that review), we saw all the new houses going up on the outskirts of the city. New highways are also being planned to alleviate all the new traffic.
Pretty soon, Doha will be as popular as Dubai. There are new resorts going up all over the city, and on the beaches. Everyone speaks English as a second language, so American businesses will probably be doing a lot of expanding over here. I never had any problems while I was here, and I never felt unsafe at all. Everyone I spoke to, even in the local markets, spoke great English.