13 Minutes in Fuwayrit, Qatar

Fuwayrit, Qatar
[dropcap size=”50px”]T[/dropcap]here’s nothing particularly inviting about Fuwayrit (or Fuwairit), a small dusty Gulf-side settlement about 75 kilometers north of the Qatari capital Doha. There’s a smattering of houses, some half-built and mostly deserted, and a few dozen old and forgotten vehicles, long ago stripped of anything the least bit useful. Beyond that, just dirt, dust and sand, and a hint of sea air blowing inland off the Persian Gulf coast near where the settlement sits.

Abandoned car in Fuwayrit Qatar

But it was nonetheless a welcome respite from the construction zone that is Doha, home to about 65 percent of Qatar’s entire population. By comparison this village actually felt like you were somewhere, even as it lends the impression of being in the middle of the proverbial nowhere. In actuality, it’s just a short ride along a bumpy dirt track away from the apparently popular Fuwayrit Beach, which I posted about briefly here.

Fuwayrit has a very strong abandoned feel to it but it wasn’t. A few homes that we went by during our 13-minute visit were clearly lived-in and very well-kept. So to were the immediate grounds around the mosque, whose door was open. We only saw one person, a young man riding a bike, pictured below, who kept his distance. Even the most active of imaginations would have a hard time imaging the area as one of the country’s principal towns, which it was, along with Al Huwayla and Al Bida, up until about 130 years ago.

Bicyclist in Fuwayrit Qatar

Ten more photos are below in what is quite likely the biggest Fuwayrit photo gallery on the world wide web. In English, anyway. Processing-wise, I couldn’t make up my mind here, so apologies if my mix of black & white and color is giving you a headache. It works for me; hopefully it’s mutual.

Mosque in Fuwayrit, Qatar
Mosque in Fuwayrit, Qatar

Abandoned bus in Fuwayrit Qatar

Bus window with bullet hole in Fuwayrit Qatar
Bullet hole? Most likely a rock.

broken down bus in Fuwayrit Qatar

Abandoned vehicles in Fuwayrit Qatar Abandoned truck in Fuwayrit Qatar Abandoned pickup truck in Fuwayrit QatarAbandoned dwelling in Fuwayrit Qatar Abandoned building in Fuwayrit Qatar

Crumbling dirt wall of a house in Fuwayrit, Qatar
Crumbling exterior wall of an abandoned house in Fuwayrit, Qatar

And to help with your bearings.


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  1. Angela Travels says

    Wow. As always, you pictures are amazing. It must have been quite an experience to drive through Fuwayrit. I haven’t really heard much, so you may be right that this is a great collection of photos of this area in one place.

    1. Bob R says

      Yes, I’m fairly certain that it is >the< largest such collection on the internets. 🙂

  2. Brittany Ruth says

    This is definitely off the beaten path!

    1. Bob R says

      I guess that would depend on your definition, but I would tend to agree. 🙂

  3. The Crowded Planet says

    I had a similar experience in a place called Ma’an in Jordan. Nothing like it, of course – Ma’an is a town like many others, but I felt the place resonated with me so much I felt compelled to write about it. I started a piece then chucked it, as I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I wanted to write about it. Now I wish I had. Great story Bob.

  4. Sharon says

    Fabulous photos. I love seeing pictures and hearing stories from places so far from my day to day reality. Was it difficult to travel around Qatar?

    1. Bob R says

      Not at all. This was part of a day trip to a beach –my first dip in the Gulf!– and we just stopped in this little village on the way back. Colleague had a car, and besides the few kilometers from the expressway to this stretch, the highways from Doha were excellent. All eight (!) lanes.

  5. Karen Warren says

    Interesting! I have been to that area north of Doha and at first it just looks like endless desert with nothing in it but, as you found, if you look closely there is lots to see.

  6. Samantha says

    If you didn’t have an introduction to Fuwayrit and I just saw the pictures, I would absolutely think that this town was abandoned. So interesting, the place looks very bare! Fantastic photos as always, enjoy taking this digital journey with you.

  7. Elena says

    I don´t know much about Qatar anyways but if you say that´s the biggest collection of photos of Fuwayrit, I beleive you. It´s funny how you took a photo of the only person (on a bike) you saw the whole time you were there 🙂

    1. Bob R says

      I spent a bit of time searching and found next to nothing on this place, so I can say with a fair bit of confidence that it is the biggest. 🙂

  8. Illia says

    The photo of blood on the car is just heartbreaking…

    1. Bob R says

      I probably should have pointed that out. It’s paint, not blood.

  9. Freya @HolidayNomad says

    WoW great photos, it definitely looks abandoned. I have only been in Doha so far on transfers, I would love to explore the country one day, not sure whether I would visit Fuwayrit however 😉

    1. Bob R says

      There isn’t much to recommend here. But the nearby beach was pretty nice. 🙂

  10. Christine says

    Lovely photos. You really get a feel for the atmosphere. Sometimes the least interesting places turn out to be the most interesting. It’s great to see a photo series on a place that hasn’t been photographed to death. Great work!

  11. Rashad Pharaon says

    Bob, these photos remind me of Saudi Arabia. Almost desolate. As if hope had turned her back on that small town and walked off. What gorgeous capture of the atmosphere–I’m left wondering why people still live there…

    1. Bob R says

      Thanks Rashad – I was wondering the same thing. There really was nothing much there. Then again, there is much I don’t understand or know about that part of the world, which made this otherwise non-descript settlement so fascinating.

  12. Roma says

    Those pictures really tell a story don’t they.

  13. Jennifer says

    Those photos are really fantastic and draw you in.

    1. Bob R says

      Thanks Jennifer – this settlement made for a very interesting, if brief, tour.

  14. Marie-Carmen says

    I love the feeling of complete desolation in those photos!
    It’s a great collection of photos you’ve got there!

    1. Bob R says

      Merci Marie – it did kind of feel that way.

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