Discovering Qatar can surprise you with glimpses to its rich heritage like the beautiful Ar Rakayat Fort, also known as the Qal’at Al Rakayat. Located at the north-west of Doha, it is one of the several desert forts one can visit in the country. Let’s get to know a little more about this architectural monument of Qatar.
The fort of Ar Rakayat dates to the 19th century and was renovated by the Antiquities Department of Qatar Museum in the 1980s. The meaning of Ar Rayakat is “well” and it is believed to be a preservation fort meant for fresh water conservation for the villages nearby whose remains can still be seen.
The fort was made in the early 1900s near the Ar Rakayat village which is in the municipality of Al Shamal. It had 2 major purposes, firstly to be a source for protection of the limited source of water and secondly as a defensive structure for the villagers in conflicting times. The water helped in cultivating many sizeable farms in a 5 km radius of the fort along with many other small but notable ones. Size-wise it is considered as one of the larger forts of the country.
The structure is that of a typical desert fort which has 3 rectangular towers and 1 cylindrical one. The lower portion is made of limestone and mud while the top was made of lubnah, a mixture of mud and clay brick. It also has a mosque located to the immediate southwest of the fort. The fort’s central courtyard provides light to the narrow windowless rooms situated on three sides of the space. The total height of this is estimated to be about 3 meters. It has a total of 3 stairways. The fact that it only has 1 entrance strongly indicates it being a defensive structure.
Location : Ar Rakayat fort is situated 94 kms north-west of the capital of Doha near the vicinity of the abandoned village of the same name in the northern municipality of Al Shamal. The remains of Al Khuwayr and Freiha settlement are scattered in a 5 km radius of the structure.
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