Culture and history info
The Al Reem Biosphere Reserve is a protected area in western Al Shamal measuring 1,189 square kilometers in area. This area encompasses the archaeological site of Zubarah and the Al Ishriq Wildlife Breeding Center. Several reintroduced species are found in this area such as sand gazelles and ostriches, in addition to native species such as dugongs, spiny-tailed lizards and red foxes.
Ar Ru'ays' coastal area is a popular destination due to its lush vegetation. In recent years, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment have embarked on campaigns to restore the mangroves that grow abundantly on its coast. Also located along the coast of Ar Ru'ays is the Al Shamal Corniche, a seafront promenade with a length of 2,570 meters.It was announced in 2017 that Qatar's largest health resort, due to cover 250,00 sq meters, will be built in Khasooma, east of Ar Ru'ays.
Abandoned villages are also being restored and converted into tourist attractions. Jumail, a fishing village abandoned in the 1970s and located 5 km away from Ar Ru'ays, is one example. After being partially reconstructed in 2009, the government announced its plans in late 2015 to convert the village into a museum. Containing no less than 60 crumbled structure, Jumail is thought to date back to the 19th century and had a close connection to Ruwayda, another ruined village situated 1 km away which accommodates the remains of what is possibly the largest fort in Qatar.
According to statistics made available by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, the municipality was said to accommodate 5 parks in 2018.
As a result of the gradual urbanization of the various nomadic Qatari tribes in Al Shamal's past, numerous historic forts are found throughout the municipality. Many of these forts were built to protect scarce water resources, while others were to protect from invasions by neighboring tribes.Most prominent is the historic Zubarah Fort, built in 1938 and converted to a museum in 1987. This fort was built as a coast guard station and is now the center of the Zubarah archaeological site. A short distance away from Zubarah Fort is Qal'at Murair, which was built to defend Zubarah's inland wells.
Approximately 8 km northeast of Zubarah Fort is the multi-purpose Ar Rakiyat Fort. Constructed around the 19th century to protect the water supply of Ar Rakiyat and to fend off invasions, this fort was restored by Qatar Museums in 1988. An older fort is found 2 km away from Ar Rakiyat, near the abandoned village of Ath Thaqab. Like most other Qatari forts, Ath Thaqab Fort is rectangular in shape and has four main towers. It dates to somewhere between the 17th and 19th centuries.
Umm Al Maa Fort, also near Zubarah, dates to the 19th century and only its base structure has been preserved.Similarly, Yusufiya Fort is dated to the 19th century and has only retained its base structure. Artifacts dating to the 13th century have been discovered at this fort.
A cluster of Abbasid-period (750–1253) archaeological sites are found near the north-west coast and include Ar Rakiyat, Umm Al Kilab, Ghaf Makin, Mussaykah, Murwab, and Al-Haddiyah. Structures that were excavated at these sites were roughly aligned with Mecca. All of the sites are situated next to rawdas (depressions), ensuring a reliable water supply.