Doha, the most populated city in the Qatar, grew out of, and now contains the Al Bidda neighborhood in the east. Mentions of Al Bidda date back to the 17th century, but it rose to prominence in the 19th century. Doha was officially established in 1820. It became the capital city in 1971 when Qatar became independent.
It quickly became one of the main financial centers of the region. In 1996 the Al Jazeera satellite networks were established in Doha. A year later Education City was established by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development. With an area of 14 square kilometers, the area houses educational facilities the serve students from school age through graduate school. Virginia Commonwelth University was the first of 8-10 foreign universities to establish branch campuses in Education City. It also houses a number of Qatari schools and research institutions.
Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1980.
Qatar's old Amiri palace was reconstructed to form the nucleus of the museum. The palace complex consists of three courtyard houses, two reception halls and various service quarters, all within a walled enclosure. A two-storey arcaded structure at the centre of the compound, built in 1918, dominates the site. Added is a new three-level Museum of State that joins the north wall of the complex and completes the courtyard. The new building is partially below grade to reduce its scale. The arcaded façade is proportioned to echo the older buildings. Landscaping and a network of paths have transformed the compound into a lush garden, welcome in the inhospitable climate. The jury noted that "in a period of rapid social and economic change, when the widespread and indiscriminate destruction of the architectural heritage has broken all continuity with the past, the preservation, enhancement and adaptation to a new public use of this important group is a noteworthy achievement."