Once little more than a minuscule pearl fishing village, Doha, Qatar's capital and largest city, has emerged to become one of the pearls of the Middle East. It is one of the most rapidly-developing cities on the Persian Gulf, akin to the development seen in nearby Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and is aiming to become a centre of international trade and travel.
For most of its history Doha was a poor fishing village dependent on pearl diving, and was regarded as a sleepy backwater until the early 1990s. Following the accession of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani as Emir in 1995, however, Qatar quickly began to modernize, and Doha is now taking huge strides to catch up with other nearby Gulf cities, especially in preparation for its hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022. The city is very much a work-in-progress, with a rapidly growing skyline and new buildings sprouting up almost like mushrooms.