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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Barzan Towers

Barzan TowerThe Barzan Towers were built at the start of the 20th century by Sheik Mohammed Bin Jassim Al Thani, at a time when the Ottomans were still sulking in Al Koot fort.

Barzan means high place, and it was said that pearl divers could see the towers when they returned from their pearl trips. They were essentially watch towers, probably built to protect an area where rain water collected - greenery, a well and a brook can still be seen in Um Slal Mohammed today.

The towers have been renovated (read completely rebuilt), and features such as modern air-conditioners do not add to the authenticity of the experience (although they may make it a lot more bearable in the summer months! However, the towers, with their thick stone walls, still makeAt the Barzan Towers an interesting trip.

The towers also afford a good view of the surrounding area. You can see from the walls the extreme gaps in wealth that exist in Qatar. On one side of the towers huge modern and rather tasteless houses stand, on the other makeshift shacks exist. We watched one man walk a mile from these shacks to collect water from a tap.

The Barzan towers are located on the outskirts of Umm Slal Mohammed and are (just) visible from the main road. You can read more about the towers on the Heritage of Qatar website.

Also see: Things to See and Do in Qatar

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