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Barzan Towers

Built in the traditional Qatari design from coral rock and limestone between 1910- 16, this imposing 16-meter high watchtower was a lookout for approaching ships, particularly those of incoming Ottoman troops in the early 1900s.  It is believed to have also been used to protect water supplies and as an observatory to track the moon and determine the dates of the lunar calendar. Unlike other forts in Qatar, the Barzan Towers were built over several floors, giving it the name Barzan, which means High Place in Arabic. 

The towers were built in the late 19th century and renovated in 1910 on the instruction of Sheikh Mohammed bin Jassim Al Thani.

Barzan is a rectangular building on three levels with an external staircase in an unusual architectural style.

Walls are one metre thick and were built by blending coral with limestone and cementing the two with a mud mortar. After drying, the walls were covered with a gypsum-based plaster.

The roof was built using four layers starting with several wood poles painted with bitumen. Woven bamboo strips cover the poles. A compressed layer of mud and a net of mangrove branches were added to shield the towers from the scorching sun during hotter months.