Some place names in Qatar must bamboozle non-Arabic speakers.

What about Rawdat Al Khail? Difficult to get your tongue around, but it is a good story. Rawda means a meadow and Al Khail has to do with horses. So, the verdant area alongside the street at the C Ring Road Intersection, formerly called Al Muntazah Park and now called Rawdat Al Khail Garden, is where, in days gone by, the servants of the Emir brought his horses to graze. The horses would have loved the foliage, the cool, shaded meadow, though it was a long walk to get there from Al Bidda, where the Emir resided.

Jamiaa means university and thus the name for the street running from TV Roundabout past Qatar University to the start of Route 1A near Doha Golf Club. Of course it was named before the creation of Qatar Foundation and Education City and the subsequent proliferation of universities there.
Al Funduq Street is the name of the street leading to the Sheraton Hotel. Funduq means hotel, and the road was named when the Sheraton was almost the only hotel in Doha; hard to believe now!

And what is Al Dafna? This is the official name for the English ‘West Bay’ area. It is understandable if you know that the whole area has been reclaimed from the sea, the Arabic dafna having connotations of burying, so here meaning roughly ‘filled in’ or ‘reclaimed’ land.

Back to horses. Arabic has many words on the subject and horses have long been loved here, so it is no surprise that the street at the edge of Doha, alongside Aspire Park, is called Al Furousiya Street. Furousiya roughly means ‘equestrian’ and you will notice that on the Al Rayyan side of the street is the Racing and Equestrian Club. Go and visit sometime. Between October and April there are races on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. It’s a great spectacle, and it’s free.


Author: Terry Sutcliffe

This article has been extracted from the ‘Getting Around Qatar’ section from Marhaba Information Guide Issue 60, which is now available at the nearest hypermarket and bookstore next to you for only QR20.

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