Souq Waqif in Doha

Wednesday, 7 April 2021 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Shopping
Reading Time:  6 minutes

© Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0

Souq Waqif (“the standing market”) is a marketplace (souq) in Doha, in the state of Qatar. The souq is noted for selling traditional garments, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs. It is also home to dozens of restaurants and Shisha lounges. Although it dates back at least a hundred years, it was renovated in 2006 to conserve its traditional Qatari architectural style. The area is very popular with locals and immigrants alike as it offers multiple dining options in the same location. It is located in the district of Al Souq which is situated in the center of Doha. As it was a market used for trading activities, the area used to be located immediately adjoining the shore to allow for boats to access it. Although still facing the water, the direct link to the water front for boats is now divided by a major road and the recently completed park.

Several streets that appear as mazes with no defined geometric pattern are characteristic of these Middle-Eastern markets (souq). The Souq offers several small shops lined along these paths with a dazzling array of Middle Eastern merchandise from spices and seasonal delicacies to perfumes, jewellery, clothing and handicrafts. Traditional music, art and cultural shows add to the ambience of this historic place. Low-rise buildings, generally only single-storied are a peculiar characteristic of Qatari Architecture. This is in keeping with regional planning principles and then available local materials such as bamboo, mud (soil) and palm fond (leaves of the date palm tree). All buildings in this market are rough plastered and small openings face the streets (generally faced a courtyard in former residential buildings). Wind towers were used in residential buildings and one such property exists at one end of the market. Post renovations in the last decade, two underground parking lots for over 3000 cars have been added. In addition to the main square that faces the park and waterfront, a new square has been added around the center of the whole development. Water features to allow for climate control seem to be planned at the new square also.

The souq is considered one of the best locations for tourists within Doha. Thousands of people from across the region frequent it to purchase traditional goods. It hosts several art galleries, events and local concerts. A yearly spring festival around April hosts many theatricals, acrobatics and musical performances. An event featuring WWE wrestlers, called Souq Waqif Storm, attracted the most spectators. There was discussion over the possibility of a repeat festival.

© Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Alexandar Vujadinovic/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Amanthi Ganapathi/cc-by-sa-4.0 Arabic coffee © StellarD/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Arwcheek © flickr.com - Adam Jones/cc-by-sa-2.0 © flickr.com - Ralf Steinberger/cc-by-2.0 Mattress and pillow shop © Razimantv/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Preacher lad/cc-by-sa-4.0 Qatari sweets © StellarD/cc-by-sa-4.0 © flickr.com - fiverlocker/cc-by-sa-2.0 © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Mattress and pillow shop © Razimantv/cc-by-sa-4.0
There are pet stalls in Souq Waqif which sell a variety of domestic pets, including dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles and birds. The sub-par living conditions of the pets has been the subject of advocacy campaigns in recent years, with proponents arguing that the animals suffer from a lack of proper healthcare and exposure to adverse weather conditions. Furthermore, some customers allege that stall owners falsify vaccination records. There is also a separate area in the souq reserved for falcon handling. The Bird souq, as it’s called, sells not only falcons but also the needed accessories such as landing pads and GPS guidance systems for the birds. Within the vicinity is also a Falcon Hospital.

The Souq Waqif Art Centre is located close to the Fish Market. The Centre combines a selection of small and artistic shops with a number of exhibition rooms laid out around a long narrow courtyard. Outside the rooms lie sculptures and chests inlaid with turtle shell. Exhibitions have included The Islamic Arts exhibition, with displays of ancient calligraphy, some dating back centuries, and displays of carpets and photography. The Souq Waqif was used as a filming location for a number of films screened at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2009, including the action film ‘Dohard’ directed by Dean Alexandrou and Masato Riesser, and produced by Waheed Khan, and ‘The Haggler’ directed and produced by the DTFF.

A collection of 9 uniquely stylized hotels form part of the market. These properties are spread across the main development and offer varied features from traditional to fairly modern. The properties are unique in their offering and highlight local aesthetics and character. A series of old houses have also been combined to showcase life in courtyard houses in Qatar. Some of the properties offer unique sea facing views with the unobstructed skyline of Doha across the harbour.

Read more on VisitQatar.qa – 12 things to do in Souq Waqif and Wikipedia Souq Waqif (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.






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