Zubarah, also called Al Zubarah or Az Zubarah, is a ruined and deserted town located on the north western coast of the Qatar peninsula in the Madinat ash Shamal municipality, about 105 km from the Qatari capital of Doha. The town was founded by merchants from Kuwait in the mid 18th century.
Zubarah was once a successful center of global trade and pearl fishing positioned midway between the Strait of Hormuz and the west arm of the Persian Gulf. It is one of the largest and best preserved examples of an 18th-19th century merchant town in the Gulf. The entire layout and urban fabric of a settlement dating to this formative period in the region has been preserved as no other similar place in the Persian Gulf. Zubarah provides an important insight into urban life, spatial organization, and the social and economic history of the Gulf before the discovery of oil and gas in the 20th century.
Covering an area of circa 400 hectares (60 hectares inside the outer town wall), Zubarah is Qatar’s most substantial archaeological site. The site comprises the fortified town with a later inner and an earlier outer wall, a harbour, a sea canal, two screening walls, the fort of Murair, and the more recent Zubarah Fort.