The old and new zones of Doha, the capital city of Qatar, are clearly visible from the International Space Station. The old city comprises the ancient bazaar, or Souq, near the dhow harbor, which is still used today for traditional Arab sailing vessels. Modern port facilities have sprung up to the east of the Souq.
Subsequent developments have sprouted progressively further from the ancient center, with ring roads concentrically arranged around it. The diplomatic quarter is reached via the waterfront Corniche promenade, north of the old city. Further away, an extensive marina known as West Bay Lagoon, with boating access to the Persian Gulf, stands out (image top).
Qatar's new artificial island, known as the Pearl-Qatar, is under construction with 32 km of new coastline just offshore of West Bay Lagoon. This development is intended mainly as a residential zone, with themes based on Arabic, Mediterranean, and European cultures. The Pearl-Qatar is so named because it is being built on one of Qatar's historical pearl diving sites. A string of small islands built along the outer margin is intended to recall the pearl-diving culture of the nation's past. Image courtesy of NASA.