Souq Waqif Doha
Located behind the Corniche, off Grand Hamed St, Souq Waqif Doha is a showpiece of traditional architecture, handicrafts and folk art, and was once a weekend trading area for the Bedouin. Meaning “standing market” in Arabic, the Souq evokes the feeling of ancient Arabic heritage and community.
Beginning in 2004, Souq Waqif Doha was renovated according to traditional Qatari architectural techniques, using authentic materials. The only traditional souq to remain in the Gulf, it’s now a charming labyrinth of narrow streets where visitors can bargain and purchase an amazingly diverse range of products including spices, dried fruit, nuts, perfumes, local honey, clothing, oud, incense, pots, tools and garden equipment, as well as Bedouin weaving, gypsum handicrafts, model dhows, wooden brass-studded bridal chests, pictures of ‘old Doha’, and paintings by Qatari artists.
A visit to one of the falcon shops is a unique experience – some shopkeepers will allow you to photograph and handle the birds while explaining equipment and training. Open from 10 am – 12 pm and 4 pm – 10 pm, Souq Waqif Doha is one of the liveliest place in Doha, boasting an increasing number of restaurants, where you can taste traditional Qatari food and various specialties from the Middle-East.
There are several traditional cafés and restaurants which open until late (some 24 hours). Sample local delicacies or try the traditional shisha or water pipe, often referred to as ‘hubbly-bubbly’ because of the noise it makes. There are regular displays of folk dance and music, particularly on festive occasions, and opportunities to photograph donkeys with traditional patterned saddles.