Barzan Towers of Qatar are situated on a low hill known as Jebel Lusail in the town of Umm Salal Mohammed that were used as watchtowers in the 19th century and were later reconstructed in 1910 by Mohammed bin Jassim Al Thani. These historical towers were originally operated as a defensive system to watch over a prized valley in Qatar called “Rawdat” which collected rainwater. The word Barzan stands for “High Place” In Arabic.
Barzan Towers’ History
The peculiar Barzan twin towers were first constructed by the order of the prince of Doha, Mohammed bin Jassim Al Thani, the seventh of his father’s sons, during the early 1900s.
They were made to monitor and watch over wells and the arable land in the nearby area as well as serving as watchtowers against the incoming Ottoman soldiers and the pearl divers.
Even though the ottomans were defeated by the former ruler, Mohammed, his son, decided to renovate the structure and use it for multiple purposes. The Barzan Towers were also used by the locals to keep track of the moon phase during the Holy month of Ramadan.
The earlier towers may have stood still until the present day, however; this failed to ensue due to the structure’s old age. Barzan Towers were renovated again in 2003 and were painted white for a different appearance.
One of the Barzan towers fact is the tower that was first referred to as the “Turkish Fort”. This was due to the presence of the Turkish troops in an occupation that lasted in 1914.
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Barzan Towers Structure and Architecture
Barzan Towers are a meter broad and 14 meters high, so they were perfect for watching over intruders. The west tower was initially named “Barzan,” and the tower on the east was “Al Burj Al Sharqi,” meaning the tower on the eastern side, built in 1958, is also now completely restored and has three levels that are upper, middle, and basement.
An extensive wall of the Barzan towers surrounded gardens, and today it still exists inside a park near a mosque. The roof of the towers has four layers with various wood poles, covered in “basgijl” bamboo strips woven together, called “danchal” that serves as protection for the structure, painted with Bitumen during its construction.
During summer, the locals would add a layer of compressed mud to the surface of the towers to protect the walls from the intense sunrays.
Marazims: Wooden Channels
Wooden channels, in Arabic “marazims”, were built to protect the towers, mosque, and rooms from heavy rain. The channels are built upon the roof, stretching outward to drain the rainwater.
Although thunderstorms, heavy rain, sandstorm, and other storms may rarely occur in the desert, the marazims were a convenient feature built over the Majilis as well as the Madrassah to shield the place against some natural events.
In 2014, reconstruction began on the towers along with the mosque and madrasah, which is a religious learning institution in a park with Qatar’s unique native flora.
Interior Rooms and Mosques
These structures included more than just towers. For example, there is a mosque called “Madrassah,” which has several prayer rooms as well as a school where youths learn Islamic scriptures (Quran).
In addition, a room is meant for hosting events and gathering guests for religious meetings and other matters. This room, called “majilis” was a pavilion erected as an L-shape with decorative windows.
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Barzan Towers’ Location and Address
But where are Barzan towers located exactly? The towers are pinpointed about 20 km north of Doha in the village of Umm Salal Mohammed.
How to get there? From the Capital city, Doha, take the North Roat when arriving at the first road sign to the Umm Salal Mohammed village and make a U-turn. Drive down the Road of Umm Salal. After the roundabout, take a right again into Barzan Street.
Barzan Towers Tickets and Opening Hours
Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday: 9 am-5 pm
Friday: 12.30-5 pm
Free admission, no tickets required – Before entering, you must sign in at the gate.
Please note that the place is open before going. Landmarks like the Muhammed bin Jassim Al Thani residence and the Umm Salal Fortresses are private properties and are not open for visiting. You will also find refreshments available near the area.
Explore the extraordinary Barzan Towers in Qatar and take a tour to ancient times in the land of the Orient. Visit the Majilis, the mosque, and the verdant garden surrounded by the towers. Discover the interior part of the towers and enjoy your trip.