Whatever its function, the outside of the building illustrates a relatively defensive attitude in the small apertures some distance from the ground, though there do appear to be semi-circular openings at ground level – either doors or, more probably, windows – and located within an arched wall construction as can be seen in the upper photograph which illustrates its interior.
The walls and arches are of masonry construction and, unusually are dressed in order to provide a degree of accuracy and structural coherence not attainable with the regular construction of most of the traditional buildings in the peninsula.
A number of the photographs on this page are taken from the web site of the Qatar Embassy in Washington and are placed here under what I believe to be fair use, permission having been requested.
There are also photographs from the web site of the Diwan al-Amiri in Qatar.
In the background can be seen the military fort with its westerly extension to the right, later taken down.
Regrettably I have no knowledge about the building and what its use might have been.
I have come across no other photographs of structures in that area of anything approaching this height.
As to what purpose the building had, I am unsure, but there is a suggestion in the two photographs which follow it – and are of the same building, but six years later on, taken in 1966 – that it is the remains of the house of a pearl merchant.
These four sites have many more photographs than I have used here and I recommend them to those with an interest in the country.It is said to have been taken in the 1960s, but I have no other information that would give a more exact date.However, as we know that the two photographs immediately above were taken in 1966, this photograph must have been taken before then as it can be seen that there is more of the building standing in ruins at the lower centre of the photograph. The image is not of high quality as it was photographed directly from the original black and white aerial photograph.It may be significant that there are more boats pulled up on the foreshore at al-Doha than there are at al-Bida.These first three aerial photographs – the first photograph above and these two below – are here because they are the earliest I have seen of any part of Qatar.