A Look at the Souq Waqif in Qatar

(Courtesy of Dr. Abdulghani Al-Shuaibi)

Souq Waqif is one of the most famous and oldest shopping markets in Doha city, State of Qatar. It is located in the downtown area of Doha and near the city’s waterfront. It is a popular market for buying traditional things and having attractive old-fashion buildings. The market, whose name means “standing market”, dates back nearly a century, to a time when locals and Bedouins would travel to the area to buy and sell fish, goats and wool. Nowadays, it is considered a tourist place for many people who visit Qatar. Thousands of people from across the region frequent this market to purchase traditional goods. Although the prevalence of several shopping centers in Doha, Souq Waqif is still a special market for many people especially local citizens. Lately, it has become a place for occasions and festivals such as the National Day, Horse Show, traditional concerts, etc. The present article attempts to demonstrate Souq Waqif in Qatar as a famous market in Doha, a catchy market for tourists and a traditional market.

Souq Waqif is the most famous market in Doha city. It is deemed the first place to explore and enjoy shopping by tourists. After shopping, customers can perform their prayers in a very large mosque inside the Souq Waqif. In addition, it has a number of hotels located around its premises that are part of the Souq. The first hotel in Doha, which is called Bismillah Hotel, was built in Souq Waqif, where numerous visitors and tourists stay during their visit to Qatar. It is a famous market for the many programmes that are held for children and families when coming for shopping on weekends. For instance, some contests are conducted for children and parents so that they enjoy hilarious times. Additionally, there are a lot of cafes and special lounges for shisha which are always full of customers. Thus, Souq Waqif is very famous for attracting tourists, visitors and businessmen while visiting its old-fashion buildings and having fun times.

 A Look at the Souq Waqif in Qatar

Furthermore, Souq Waqif is a catchy market. There are various restaurants such as Jordanian restaurant, Yemeni restaurant, Turkish restaurant, Malaysian restaurant, Indian restaurant, French restaurant, Italian restaurant etc.; each one serves different traditional foods. Each restaurant attracts its particular people to have their own cuisines, which they have in their home country. Besides, there are plenty of galleries, events and concerts in Souq Waqif that glamor tourists. The local concerts are always held on weekends to entice more shoppers, visitors and tourists; especially, during spring season. In Souq Waqif, there are different sections where shoppers can buy birds, animals and falcons. The most appealing building is the Falcon hospital that specialized for falcons. The hospital offers pre-sale health inspections of birds for potential buyers. There are also stables for horses and camels at the Souq. In fact, the market captivates shoppers with numerous things sold over there.

The most appealing thing is that Souq Waqif is a traditional market. People can purchase traditional attires, conventional goods and old stuff such as swords, daggers, rifles, souvenirs, handicrafts, garments, etc. The traditional garments are like thawb, oggal and bisht which is a cloak usually made of wool. The policemen are always seen over there wearing the oggal and ghutra as one of the Qatari traditional attires. Moreover, there are several shops for traditional knick-knacks, spices and household ornaments. The Souq sells a variety of merchandise some of which include incense, fabrics, jewelries, nuts, perfumes, and the like. To put it briefly, people can buy different kinds of great stuff from the Souq.

In short, Souq Waqif is a traditional market for selling a variety of merchandise. It is a market for many local and foreign people to shop in Doha city every day. Live performances and seasonal festivals with street artists and traditional folk troupes make it a one-of-a-kind cultural bazaar in Qatar. Although there are many shopping centers in Doha city, it is considered the first choice and an excellent place for people to gather and shop. It is distinguished with its old fashion. In fact, this essay attempted to demonstrate Souq Waqif as a famous market in Doha, a catchy market for tourists and a traditional market. Thus, it is recommended for tourists or businessmen to visit this Souq while coming to the State of Qatar. Lastly, it can be said that Souq Waqif is the best tourist trap or a Disney version of Qatar’s past.

 Dr. Abdulghani Al-Shuaibi

Academic Coordinator

English Language Center – ELC

Community College of Qatar

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