Every tourist in Qatar knows them, these boats in Doha in the low water of the Corniche, in front of the imposing West Bay skyline. These picturesque boats, also to be seen on almost every advertising picture of the State of Qatar. But what kind of boats are they? Are they simply “boats“? Read more about Doha here in my recent travel articles.
Dhow – the boats in Doha
The burgundy and white flags, the national flag of Qatar, move loosely in the breeze from masts on each wooden boat, which themselves wobble relaxed in the water. These boats are so-called dhow, or داو in Arabic.
The dhow is a sailing ship with one to three one-piece masts, large trapezoidal sails and wide sterns of the hull. The Dau, or Dhow, is especially widespread in the riparian countries of the Indian Ocean. The term “dhow” is not just a type of boat, but a collective term for about 60 different types of ships. From small boats to larger transport ships. However, the construction of the dhow’s is always very similar.
The exact age of the very first boats of this type is not exactly handed down, but probably goes back to the 4th century and spread from India over the Indian Ocean to the Arabian Peninsula as well as to East Africa and finally to the Mediterranean Sea. The Dau or Dhow sailing boats are still being built today, especially in shipyards in the United Arab Emirates as well as in Kerala, India.
The beautiful wooden boats in Doha have not only a purely visual advantage, but also a real benefit.
The flag of Qatar waving from a dhow in the low water of the Doha Corniche at MIA Park, in front of Doha’s West Bay skyline.