Barzan Tower

Keluarga Wahyu at Barzan Tower
Keluarga Wahyu at Barzan Tower

The following description is taken from Heritage of Qatar meanwhile all pictures are personal documentations.

Stretching into the Arabian sky, the Barzan towers loom above the surrounding landscape and provide the perfect place to gaze out to sea. They have been used as a platform to keep a watchful eye on pearl divers, as a look-out for approaching ships and as an observatory to scrutinise the moon’s phases.

One of the two Barzan Towers
One of the two Barzan Towers

The name Barzan comes from the Arabic for “high place,” quite appropriate for towers measuring 16 meters in height. Built in 1910 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Jassim Al-Thani, they are located at the southern side of the defensive system established in the late 19th/early 20th century to protect the “raudah,” the valley where precious rainwater collects from adjacent higher ground. They link with two other fortified buildings towards the west and another tower towards the north.

Keeping track of the moon was essential. The “Hejry” calendar which is used in Islamic countries is based on the moon’s phases, with each month starting when the crescent appears after the new moon. Ramadan is the most important of these months, marking the time when the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon Him). To ensure accuracy, two observers would climb to the top of the towers, viewing the new moon and agreeing when the crescent appeared.

The towers were built for strength. The walls are one meter thick at the base and further strengthened by buttresses. These were constructed as cones in one tower and as massive staircases in the other.

Barzan Tower
Barzan Tower

Besides the two Barzan towers there is a “majlis,” a room to receive guests, built as an L- shaped pavilion with small windows for ventilation. Moreover, there is a mosque containing a simple prayer room which was also used as a “madrassa,” a school for teaching the Holy Quran to children.

On the top of the “majlis,” and the mosque, traditional “marazims” protect the walls’ surfaces. These wooden channels stretch out from the roof to drain rainwater away during the desert’s rare but heavy storms.


Stairway to Barzan Tower
Stairway to Barzan Tower

The pavilion provides an excellent example of traditional Qatari building methods and techniques. Thick walls helped to keep the buildings cool. They were constructed by first overlapping raw pieces of coral-rock with limestone and cementing the two with mud mortar. Once dry, this was subsequently covered with a gypsum-based plaster. The roof was built in four layers, starting with a series of “danchal” wood poles. These were sometimes painted with bitumen for protection. The “danchal” wood poles were then covered by a layer of “basgijl,” woven bamboo strips. A closely constructed net of mangrove branches was added followed by a layer of compressed mud to protect the buildings from the sun during the hot seasons.

Another interesting feature of this technique is the use of poles of “danchal” wood held together with a rope in the construction of architraves. This increased the adherence of the mud mortar and plaster.


The Barzan and surroundings towers are in Umm Slal Mohammed, 20 km north of Doha. Take the North road and make a U-turn at the first sign to Umm Slal Mohammed. Turn right onto Umm Slal Mohammed Road and right again into Barzan Street immediately after the roundabout.

Another alternative is to take Al Khuraitiyat Road from Al Shamal Bridge then driving straight until the same roundbaout, take 2nd exit and turn right immediately to Barzan St after roundabout. 

Coordinate: N 25° 25′ 06.4″ E 51° 24′ 45.8″ (Barzan Tower Gate)

Door, Arabian Style at Barzan Tower
Door, Arabian Style at Barzan Tower

Shebestan Palace Restaurant

‘Shebestan’ means – according to friend to my Egyptian friend – nothing than a place in Iran that is now non-exist. Shebestan restaurant serves kebabs of prawns, fish, lamb and chicken that are tastefully treated with Iranian spices, accompanied by plain or saffron rice. The ambience of a top-end restaurant is enhanced by the luxurious yet traditional interior, with the old-fashioned paintings and rugs on the walls matching the lighting impeccably.

Entrance to Shebestan Palace Restaurant
Entrance to Shebestan Palace Restaurant

And here on hot Friday, 22 May 2009, I have an opportunity to taste what other describes the food is amazing. My Section Head, Hasan, treated us, his members, recognizing our excellent performance during our Qatargas Train 2 Shutdown ended just few days ago. We started gathered at 1 PM with my boss, Hasan, my neighbor Samir, and Ashraf, all of us arrived at front gate nearly at the same time. Then minutes later Islam, the youngest guy in our team, and Tawfeeq & Khalil from Al Khor.

With six nationalities, right ambience, and off-thejob environment, conversation went absolutely bubbling, from national dishes, immigration of ancestor around middle east, mobile phone, US & Houston, to meaning of some Arabic words. With me, the only Javanese-Maduranese Indonesian are Samir from Azerbaijan, Islam a Qatari, Hasan a Palestinian-born Qatari, Khalil an Iraq-born Jordanian, Ashraf an Egyptian, and Tawfeeq a Jordanian.


A majlis with central fountain and reception desk
A majlis with central fountain and reception desk

 As you’re entering Shebestan, you will be welcomed by central fountain and reception desk. I am told that in old days the water to central fountain is increased so that it will make more noises if the king or the host wants to make a secret conversation with a particular guest. Hmmm….interesting trick.

We were seating at main hall comprises of several 2-seat tables, 4-seat tables, and several family sections in every corner of the hall which also can be used for larger gatherings.

Interior of main dining hall
Interior of main dining hall

We were provided freshly baked bread along with some cold almost-yoghurt-like dip. The bread is best consumed hot. Not far away from our seat is a bread preparation corner where you can see a bread-making live show. A portion of salad, tabouleh and hommous is also served.

A Jalansutra member and being in Qatar and Middle East is a privilege to experience original cuisine, I then ordered all Iranian-specific dishes. I ordered an “AASH E-SHEBESTAN” – a lentil soup with Iranian herbs and spices. It’s neither salty nor sweet, just a perfect combination. Few drops of lemon will make the soup more delicious.

Lentil soup with Iranian spices (a basket of freshly baked bread at the background)
Lentil soup with Iranian spices (a basket of freshly baked bread at the background)

I also ordered a lemon juice with mint. It was similar to regular lemon juice but without so much sugar and add loads of mint.  Delicious but not refreshing. Few ice cubes or colder serving should have made it better. However, my main dish is absolutely amazing. I had JOOJHE KABAB MASHI – boneless chicken marinated in yoghurt and cooked on charcoal, served with French Fries or saffron rice. Unlike in other Arabian restaurant we’ve tried here where a portion is more than enough for one person (at least for me), the chicken kabab was a just right portion of everything so that I didn’t fill up. The chicken meat is tender with spice perfectly permeated into meat deep. Charcoal leaves its smell onto chicken meat surface which flawlessly grilled.  Only one thing missing for an Indonesian like me: SAMBAL! Hot chili grinded with tomato and shrimp paste (terasi). What a perfect condiment otherwise!

Joojhe Kabab Mashi - boneless chicken marinated in youghurt, Iranian-spiced and  cooked on charcoal (lemon juice with mint at the background)
Joojhe Kabab Mashi - boneless chicken marinated in youghurt, Iranian-spiced and cooked on charcoal (lemon juice with mint at the background)

As a dessert, Hasan ordered for us Arabian sweets. What a die must try is grated-coconut flake sweets. Gee, it’s sweet  yet scrumptious. But now, as I was getting full I couldn’t stop eating the sweets. Fortunately, we also had hot tea, again with mint, served in a unique tea shot glass, that neutralize the sweetness tang.

A unique tea shot glass!
A unique tea shot glass!

In a nutshell, Shebestan offers an enjoyable Iranian/Persian dining experience, go together with lip smacking dishes, and quite affordable pricing. Recommended!


Your tester today.....
Your tester today.....

Total Damage (in QAR):

Lemon juice with mint   12

Soup Aash E Shebestan 18

Joojhe Kabab Mashi       55



Al Sadd Street, Doha, Qatar,  (beside Al Sadd Merweb Hotel) Tel: 432 1555,  432 4433 or 442 2266

Coordinate:  25016’51.6” N  51030’12.8” E

Shebestan front exterior (see Al Sadd Merweb Hotel at the background)
Shebestan front exterior (see Al Sadd Merweb Hotel at the background)

Golden Fish Restaurant

It claims that it is absolutely the freshest seafood in town. Is it up to? Let’s find out!

I visited Golden Fish Restaurant last weekend on dusty Saturday, 16 May 2009. I overheard from my friend that the restaurant serves a delicious seafood offer yet not expensive. The seating arrangement is a surprise though. Passing through front door I was welcomed by ordering table while to the left is four 3-seat dining table. Upstair, this is new to me. A 4-seat private  dining area complete with curtain that you can use to hide your bad eating behavior. And hey, a 7-in portable DVD screen attached to the wall could be used to kill your time waiting food to be served.

The waitress is polite and helpful. We ordered hamour shrimp grill, hamour grill, crab grill, and shrimp salad. Full of cholesterol eh?

Thin Arabic/Pita Bread
Thin Arabic/Pita Bread

 This pita bread came first. It seemed a compliment for guests to enjoy while the main course were being prepared. The bread is soft, tasty and well-cooked. It is best consumed by dipping it to the cream accompanied.

Shrimps Salad
Shrimps Salad

 Not long, may be 10-15 minutes, all what we ordered served at once. This shrimp salad deserved a thumbs up. Fresh! Crunchy! and the dressing is superb.

Shrimps Hamour Grill
Shrimps Hamour Grill

 And here is the mouthwatering selection. The hamour is properly grilled, as is shrimp. The flavor permeate and seeps deeply into meat. The rice that comes with the hamour and shrimp is also excellent. It tastes to something we are familiar with; yes, “Nasi Uduk” of Indonesia.

Crabs Grilled
Crabs Grilled

 This is something we don’t recommend. Not up to our expectation quite frankly. The meat textures revealed that this is not fresh crab. Far to be on par with Balikpapan’s Dandito or Kenari Crab!! Oh I miss that.

All in all, the restaurant offers good selections of seafood menu. Shrimps and fish are worth picked. Crabs might need improvement.


Golden Fish Restaurant is located on Al Sadd Street. If you are driving Al Sadd Street from Suhaim bin Hamad-Al Sadd Street Intersection (La Cigale Intersection), you can find it after Royal Plaza and before KFC and fenced open areas (used for parking).

Golden Fish Restaurant
Golden Fish Restaurant

Contact: 4426000, 4427000

Menu & Prices (in QAR)

Juice                                      6/12

Water                                   2/4


Shrimps/Hamour/Harra Sandwich            15

Lamb/Chicken Kabab                                     7

Beef/Chicken Burger                                      5


Seafood Salad                   45

Cesar Salad                         25

Shrimp Salad                      20


Soup                                      10-18


Rock Lobster Bashamill  75

Rock Lobster Grilled        70

Lobster Curry with Zafran             70

Lobster Grilled/Bashamir              80/120

Habar Fried (Cuttle)        35

Habar Grilled (Cuttle)     30

Mussels Bashamil/Grill  70

Crabs Grilled      35

Hamour (Fillet) Grill/Fried            27

Hamour Harra                    30

Hamour Curry                    30

Chaned Grilled                  25

Shrimps Hamour Grill     40

Fried/Grilled Shrimp       38

Shrimp Curry                      38

Shrimp Bashamil               40

Shrimp Cocktail                 20

Qatar 2022 Word Cup Bid Logo Unveiled

Will Qatar win the bid?

While football is the nation passion in Qatar, a lot of to be done for Qatar to host such a big event as a world cup. Stadium, transportation (remember Qatar does not have a good public transportation system), and accommodation are among the issues to resolve. But, there is still a long way to go for 2022 and Qatar might have enough time and money to prepare.

Qatar 2022 World Cup Bid Logo
Qatar 2022 World Cup Bid Logo

Besides Qatar, twelve individual nations registered their intention to bid for World Cup 2022: Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan,  Mexico, Russia, South Korea, and the United States, Belgium and the Netherlands (to bid together), as have Portugal and Spain.

DOHA, May 16 (QNA) -16 May 2009 – Qatar 2022, bidding to host the first ever FIFA World Cup in the Middle East, today unveiled its vision to unite the Arab world and drive better understanding of the region globally through the world”s biggest sports event. Describing Qatar as “like a true sportsman” ahead of the Bid”s brand launch in front of a 50,000 sell-out crowd at the Khalifa National Stadium in Doha for the HH Emir Cup Final, His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, President of Qatar 2022, said: “The unwavering resolution of the Qatari people and the government – to modernise, to advocate for peace, to build for the future – is like the iron will of an athlete in pursuit of victory. “Qatar is a land of action and not just promises. It”s what makes us the ideal partner to help FIFA establish with certainty that football, and its virtues, is a tool with which a better future can be built. “Qatar 2022 is a Bid on behalf of the whole region. The first global sports event in the Middle East provides an opportunity for greater understanding and unity between the Arab and Western worlds and can inspire enthusiastic support from football fans young and old across the entire region.” With the world”s fastest-growing economy, highest per capita GDP and experience as host of the 2006 Asian Games as well as the impending 2011 AFC Asian Cup, Qatar plans to host the most state-of-the-art, financially robust and hospitable FIFA World Cup in history.

Hassan Al-Thawadi, CEO of Qatar 2022, said: “Today we are immensely proud to unveil the Qatar 2022 brand, which can become a symbol for hope, understanding and inspiration in the Middle East and around the world. Football transcends cultural barriers; in every sense, it is the world game. “We are serious about winning the right to host the FIFA World Cup in the Arab world for the first time. We are offering FIFA an incredible event, with a tremendous football legacy, but also a legacy for humanity. “Qatar 2022 can be a watershed moment and our job until December 2010 is to use every day to make the dreams of Qataris and the whole Arab world a reality.”

About the Qatar 2022 Brandmark: The new Qatar 2022 brandmark artfully combines the concepts of international football and Qatari heritage. The 32 pentagons represent the surface of a football, using colours that reflect the natural heritage of Qatar-warm, luminescent colours of sand and sun which spiral inwards, alongside the azure blues of the sea. The pentagons form roadways leading to Qatar, bringing participant teams from all over the world to compete on the great stage that is the FIFA World Cup. The brandmark was developed by leading global brand consultancy, FutureBrand, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.(QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency

Fuwairit Beach


Al Shamal Road is now superhighway with 4-lane road beyond Fuwairit turn-off. A dedicated interchange to Fuwairit has been constructed providing easy access to Fuwairit and from Fuwairit to Doha.

Update 25 March 2010

Al Shamal Road shows improvements since I visited Fuwairit last year. Interchange to Al Khor finished. Southbound road to Doha is partially finished.


–          Exit Road to Fuwairit (from Al Shamal Road): 26 00’20.12″N 51 20’15.09″E

–          Fuwairit Beach: 26 01’57.87″N 51 22’25.56″E


Take Al Shamal (North) Road or a.k.a Road 1, past Al Khor turn off and continue for a further 44 km.  There is a small blue sign post indicating distance every km. It shows Km 6 at Al Shamal bridge. Exit road to Fuwairit is at Km  78.  End of diversions is at km 66. Turn right at the Fuwairit sign (white sign with black letter). You will pass by the following places prior to reaching Fuwairit turn off:

  • Umm Slal Mohammed
  • Umm Slal Ali
  • Umm Qarn (landmarked by Umm Qarn Farms)
  • Turn-off right to Al Khor
  • Rawdat al Faras
  • Madinat Al Ka’ban
  • Al Jethay
  • Al Ghashamiya
Fuwairit Turn Off at Al Shamal Road (turn right after a pile of sand next to Fuwairit sign)
Fuwairit Turn Off at Al Shamal Road (turn right after a pile of sand next to Fuwairit sign)

Then follow 3.7 km the rough asphalted road parallel to telegraph poles leading to a small village. Beware of potholes along the road. As you reach the outskirts of the village, (prior to a big building) turn left onto a short dirt track lined with palm tree, then take a rough track running parallel to the coast. Drive for about 1.5 km along the small dune edging the beach . Park behind the red plastic barrier separating the beach from car parking. Continuing driving parallel to the coast will lead you to the most unusual formations of eroded jebel (rock hill). 4WD vehicle might be able to reach the top of rock hill.

The beginning of 3.7 km rough asphalted road to Fuwairit (see telegraph poles)
The beginning of 3.7 km rough asphalted road to Fuwairit (see telegraph poles)
pproaching a small village; turn left before a big white building to Fuwairit
pproaching a small village; turn left before a big white building to Fuwairit
A view of dirt road lined with palm trees
A view of dirt road lined with palm trees
Fuwairit Beach (see kite surfing?)
Fuwairit Beach (see kite surfing?)

Safety Precautions:

Al Shamal Road is under major rebuild and reconstruction. The vision is to have a 3-lane road to each direction, similar to Al Khor Highway (Road 1A). Several overhead bridges are seen being built to accommodate future road crossing.

Road to Fuwairit is a 2-lane road with a lot of diversion. It is until Km 66 that you will need to exercise extra careful driving, meandering along diversion to diversion. Not to mention competition with large dump truck and heavy equipments. Road to Doha however is slightly better than that to Fuwairit. Speed limits vary from 60 km/h when entering construction site, 80km/h and 120 km/h. There is a “Road under Radar Surveillance” signboard but I failed to identify speed camera locations.

What to do:

Jabal Fuwairit is a great photo opportunity. Sunbathing, kite surfing, swimming, picnic or camping are kind of activities you can enjoy at Fuwairit. Fuwairit also has a mangrove area where you might  be interested in.

Jabal Al Fuwairit (Al Ghariya Resort at the background)
Jabal Al Fuwairit (Al Ghariya Resort at the background)
Jabal Al Fuwairit
Jabal Al Fuwairit

Further to the south of Fuwairit lies Jabal Al Jassasiya where you can find rock carvings from the ancient Qatar. Whereas 4-5 km to the North leads you to Al Ghariya Resort, another weekend destination, similar to Sealine Beach Resort at the south Qatar.

At Jabal Al Fuwairit
At Jabal Al Fuwairit

12 Points to Remember in the Road Test

The followings are 12 points you should remember in order to succeed in the road test to obtain Qatari driving license.

  1. Fixed the seat belt
  2. Adjust the mirror leans thru left and right
  3. Smooth starting and stopping of the vehicle
  4. Keeping the car on the lane straightly while in motion
  5. Observance of correct road speed limits
  6. Follow road marks and signs on the road
  7. Using the mirror and side mirrors while car in motion
  8. Application of handbrake in parking
  9. Good timing of car signal lights while turning
  10. Observance of correct overtaking
  11. Observance of correct distance between vehicles
  12. Focus of concentration during driving

Salary in Qatar

(moved to Vacancy & Salary )

Listed below is free-tax salary as revealed in job vacancy in local English newspapers (written as Position – Industry – Salary per Month (unless otherwise stated):

Updated 12 June 2009

Arabic Shop Manager – Luxury Retail – QAR11,000 total + commission

Female Arabic Shop Supervisor – Luxury Retail – QR7,300 + commission

Female Arabic Sales Executive – Luxury Retail – QR5,300 + commission

Make-up Artist – Luxury Retail – QR7,000 total + commission

Sales Executive – Automotive – QAR6,000 + commission

Head of Internal Audit  – Bank – QAR60,000 (Note: Arabic native speaker)

Executive Manager – Islamic Banking – QAR60,000 (Note: Arabic native speaker)

Financial Analyst – Construction and Engineering – QAR22,000 – 30,000

Public Relation Officer – Engineering Consultancy – QAR10,000 – 12,000

HR Advisor – Logistics – QAR10,000 – 14,000

Warehouse Manager – Logistics – QAR20,000

Delivery Supervisor – Logistics – QAR15,000


Updated 25 May 2009:

–          Education Coordinator – QAR10,000 per month

–          Full-time Driver /Mandoub/Security – QAR2,500 per month

–          Full-time cleaning lady – QAR1,250 per month

–          Account Manager – Media – QAR13,000 – QAR20,000 per month

–          Public Relation Officer – Engineering Consultancy – QAR10,000 per month

–          VP Financial Controller – Automotive Industry – QAR20,000 – 25,000 per month

–          Senior Lawyer – Real Estate Developer Company – QAR15,000 – 20,000 per month

–          Ordering and Planning Manager – Automotive Industry – QAR20,000 – 25,000 per month

–          Shipment Clerk – Embassy – QAR75,359 per year (starting)

–   Sales Support Administrator – Financial Services Company: QAR8,000 – 12,000 per month

– Mall Marketing Manager – Retail Industry – QAR20,000 – 25,000 per month

– Sales Manager – IT, Networking & Application Industry – USD100,000 – 120,000 per annum


1. Qatar Rials (QAR) is pegged to USD. 1 USD = 3.65 QAR

Please bear in mind that salary is commensurate with nationality, qualification, experiences, position, company and industry. While it is not mentioned in advertisement, it is normal in Qatar that housing is provided though type and facility may vary depending on company and status of employee. However, the prospective employee shall check if housing, medical, education, transportation allowance, insurance, tickets, and leave are part of the compensation and benefit.

Check Qatarliving for discusion on salary ranges in Qatar: