Three more Qatari heritage sites have been inscribed on the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) Islamic World Heritage List. 

On 18 September 2021, Qatar Museums (QM) announced the inclusion of three additional Qatari heritage sites in the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) Islamic World Heritage List. This inscription came during the ninth meeting of the Islamic World Heritage Committee (IWHC) in ISESCO, convened virtually in June 2021.

The IWHC inscribed 97 new historical sites and cultural elements on the ISESCO Islamic World Heritage List, including three Qatari archaeological sites, which are Al Rakyat Fort, Barzan Towers and Al Khulaifi Heritage House. 

Located on the road between Al Zubara and Madinat Al Shamal, Al Rakyat Fort is one of the few forts that were renovated in the 1980s. The restoration was done carefully so that the fort resembles the original structure. The remains of the original fort can still be seen in the courtyard. 

Abraj Barzan (Barzan Towers) are two towers built in Umm Slal Mohammed. Burj Barzan (burj meaning tower, abraj towers) was built during the late 19th century in a unique ‘T’ shape, a rectangular construction with three levels and an external staircase. Both towers have been completely restored. 20 km north of Doha and built during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the fort was designed to combine civilian and military functions. 

Al Khulaifi Heritage House

A heritage house called Al Khulaifi Heritage House, which was restored by Qatar Museums (QM), can be found at Muglina Unit Park. 

There are more than 100 sites inscribed by ISESCO on the Islamic World Heritage List from countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Oman, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and more.

HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, Chairperson of QM, said, ‘We are pleased to see more Qatari heritage sites on the ISESCO Heritage List. This new achievement contributes to the promotion of Qatar’s rich cultural heritage across the world, and enhances cultural tourism in the country. We thank everyone who contributed to this achievement.’

The CEO of QM, Ahmad Musa Al Namla, said, ‘This accomplishment comes as a culmination of Qatar Museums’ continuous efforts to revive Qatari heritage and promote the various heritage sites in the country. The three heritage sites that were added to ISESCO Islamic World Heritage List comprise a significant historical and cultural heritage for the Qatari people, and the Islamic world as a whole. We will work to inscribe more Qatari Islamic archaeological sites, shine a spotlight on Qatar’s Islamic culture and reinforce its position on the map of Islamic and cultural tourism.’

The inscription of Islamic heritage sites means they are to be preserved and protected against intentional and unintentional damage, as many are in danger or subject to disrepair, destruction and looting.

This isn’t the first time that Qatar’s archaeological sites have been inscribed on the ISESCO Islamic World Heritage List. These three archaeological sites were added to the other Qatari sites that have already been inscribed on the ISESCO Islamic World Heritage List in December 2019. They are Al Zubara Fort, Al Jassasiya Site, the Old Amiri Palace (Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Palace at National Museum of Qatar) and Al Ruwais Mosque. This brings the number of Qatari sites on the ISESCO Islamic World Heritage List to seven. 

UNESCO World Heritage List

Qatar Museums Zubarah Cultural Fair

One of Qatar’s most cherished archeological sites, Al Zubarah Archaeological Site, has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2013. Khor Al Adaid natural reserve has been on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List since 2008.

A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. UNESCO designates World Heritage Sites for having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance.

For more on Qatar’s archaeological sites, see Archaeological Sites, Forts and Ruins in the Discovering Qatar section.

Qatar Museums (QM)

QM oversees the country’s museums and galleries, public art, and archaeological and heritage sites.

QM’s archaeology and architectural conservation departments manage, conserve, protect and enhance archaeology and archaeological practices in Qatar.

From Bronze Age settlements to medieval palaces, 19th-century forts, villages, towers and mosques, the archaeology and conservation team excavate, restore and protect the parts of Qatar that flourished long ago.

Qatar’s ancient settlements, towers and forts offer visitors a unique opportunity to learn about Qatar’s rich culture and history.

For more information, visit

Author: Ola Diab

This feature is from Marhaba’s WINTER 2021/22 Issue – M82.

Copyright © Marhaba Information Guide. Reproduction of material from Marhaba Information Guide’s book or website without written permission is strictly prohibited. Using Marhaba Information Guide’s material without authorisation constitutes as plagiarism as well as copyright infringement.