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 Ceremonial court is an open air facility for the celebration of special events. Located at the southern end of the central green spine it includes a formal courtyard on two main levels paved with White granite and surrounded by an intricately patterned pre-cast concrete framed pergola. A reflecting pool is located in the lower courtyard and two 30-meter high light towers serve as beacons for the upper courtyard. The Ceremonial Court provides two venues for performance and also features a centrally located two-story majlis that offers a grand view for members of the Royal Family and other special guests.