<p><strong>Workers in <a id="xvu5" title="Qatar" href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/qatar-guide/">Qatar</a> clean a water fountain in Doha's growing City Center and West Bay District in October. But far bigger preparations will soon be underway following Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 <a id="qw6u" title="FIFA World Cup" href="http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/index.html">FIFA World Cup</a>.</strong></p><p>During the last few decades, the relatively sleepy port city of Doha on the Persian Gulf has been transformed into a glittering modern metropolis that will soon host soccer fanatics from around the globe. (See a <a id="aydm" title="Qatar map" href="http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/maps/map-machine#s=r&amp;c=25.3688458240828, 51.275939941406264&amp;z=8">Qatar map</a>.)</p><p>The venue will be quite unlike any other to host the event, said <a id="aqms" title="Don Belt" href="http://events.nationalgeographic.com/events/speakers-bureau/speaker/don-belt/">Don Belt</a>, senior editor for foreign affairs at <em>National Geographic</em> magazine and editor of the National Geographic book <em>The World of Islam.</em> (The Society owns <em>National Geographic</em> magazine and National Geographic News.)</p><p>Qatar (pronounced KUT-ter) is the most traditional and conservative society in the Persian Gulf, except for Saudi Arabia. It's also home to broiling desert temperatures, one major city, and little soccer tradition—many Qataris are more passionate about traditional pastimes such as camel racing and falconry.</p><p>"It's a real head-scratcher," Belt said. "I'm sure soccer fans all over the world are wondering about this one."</p><p><em>Also see <a id="lk4e" title="&quot;Qatar: Revolution From the Top Down&quot;" href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/features/world/asia/qatar/qatar-text/1">"Qatar: Revolution From the Top Down"</a> in </em>National Geographic<em> magazine.<br></em></p><p><em>—Brian Handwerk</em></p>

Doha Fountain

Workers in Qatar clean a water fountain in Doha's growing City Center and West Bay District in October. But far bigger preparations will soon be underway following Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

During the last few decades, the relatively sleepy port city of Doha on the Persian Gulf has been transformed into a glittering modern metropolis that will soon host soccer fanatics from around the globe. (See a Qatar map.)

The venue will be quite unlike any other to host the event, said Don Belt, senior editor for foreign affairs at National Geographic magazine and editor of the National Geographic book The World of Islam. (The Society owns National Geographic magazine and National Geographic News.)

Qatar (pronounced KUT-ter) is the most traditional and conservative society in the Persian Gulf, except for Saudi Arabia. It's also home to broiling desert temperatures, one major city, and little soccer tradition—many Qataris are more passionate about traditional pastimes such as camel racing and falconry.

"It's a real head-scratcher," Belt said. "I'm sure soccer fans all over the world are wondering about this one."

Also see "Qatar: Revolution From the Top Down" in National Geographic magazine.

—Brian Handwerk

Photograph by Sean Gallup, Getty Images

Photos: Inside Qatar, Host of the 2022 World Cup

Get a glimpse into the conservative Islamic country that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Read This Next

A super-long blood moon is coming. Here's how to see it.
Will two new Omicron variants drive another surge in the U.S.?
These bats imitate hornets to avoid being eaten by owls

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet