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.
The origins of the Souk Waqif date from the time when Doha was a village and its inhabitants gathered on the banks of the wadi to buy and sell goods. The revitalisation project, a unique architectural revival of one of the most important heritage sites in Doha, was based on a thorough study of the history of the market and its buildings, and aimed to reverse the dilapidation of the historic structures and remove inappropriate alterations and additions. The architect attempted to rejuvenate the memory of the place: modern buildings were demolished; metal sheeting on roofs was replaced with traditionally built roofs of dangeal wood and bamboo with a binding layer of clay and straw, and traditional strategies to insulate the buildings against extreme heat were re-introduced. Some new features were also introduced, such as a sophisticated lighting system that illuminates the market’s streets. In complete contrast to the heritage theme parks that are becoming common in the region, Souk Waqif is both a traditional open-air public space that is used by shoppers, tourists, merchants and residents alike, and a working market.