Al Zubarah Fort

Fort in Qatar

Qatar's first and only Unesco World Heritage site appears in the desert as if out of nowhere. The impressive structure, built in 1938, has four striking towers and stands alone in a sea of sand. Inside are cabinets of artefacts containing pearl merchants' boxes and simple yet utterly genius divers' nose pegs – used for pearling decades ago. A large commercial and pearling port was located here in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Info boards at the fort, which was used by the military until the 1980s, contain information on how remote villages like Al Zubarah used to find water in this stark and barren landscape. Archaeological excavations of the old pearling village are ongoing, but not open to visitors.