Al Thaqab Fort
Al Thaqab Fort, locally also known as Qal'at al Thaqab, lies in the desert some 12 km south of the town of Al Ruwais in the municipality of Madinat ash Shamal in Qatar. The couple of buildings next to it are actually called a village by the name of Qalaat al Thaqab.
When exactly Al Thaqab Fort was built is unsure. Some sources say it dates back to the 17th/18th century but most agree that it was built in the 19th century. The name Thaqab is said to mean ‘the water in the bottom of the valley after the rain’. To the west of the fort there is deep well. Villagers used to get their water, a very precious commodity, there. So probably it was built to guard that well and provide shelter in case of attack.
Just like Al Zubarah Fort to the south, Al Thaqab Fort has a square ground plan with 3 circular towers and a rectangular tower, which is a typical layout for a desert fort in Qatar. It also has a bent entrance and a couple of buildings for storing and processing dates. It was built out of rough blocks of coral and limestone joined by a mud mortar. A restoration of the fort in the 1980's was criticised for not being done carefully and without attention to authenticity. In 2003 it was restored again.
Al Thaqab Fort is freely accessible. But keep in mind that you will need a 4-wheel drive to reach it. I only had a normal city car. With this I drove to the end of a dirt road and then walked some 1.5 km south through the desert. That doesn't sound like much of a distance, but with a scorching sun and 41 degrees Celsius it is. So if you're going to do that too, be sure to bring enough water with you!
Some 3 km to the north lies Al Rakayat Fort. The same means and advice for access applies for that fort too. Both forts are definitely worth the trouble of visiting. I liked them both very much.