This lively complex is undeniably one of the most interesting destinations in all of Qatar. Constructed on the location of a traditional market, it serves as Doha’s cultural epicenter.
The market area has been cleverly redeveloped to look like a 19th-century souq, complete with mud-rendered shops and exposed timber beams, as well as some authentic and beautifully restored original Qatari buildings that were frequented by Bedouin who brought their sheep, goats, and wool to trade for essentials.
Souq Waqif is a fascinating traditional market located in the middle of Doha, the capital of Qatar. Doha is a shoppers’ paradise for anyone who wants to get a feel for authentic Qatari retail culture. The market was first built over a century ago, and it has served as a landmark in Doha ever since. Souq Waqif attracts tourists from all over the world thanks to its high-quality shopping and abundance of authentic Qatari architecture.
Furthermore, here is a complete guide to Souq Waqif, the most famous tourist attraction in Doha, Qatar. Everything you need to know, from its origins and recent makeover to its best eateries and attractions, is right here.
History of Souq Waqif
Souq Waqif went into a major decline in the 1990s due to rising wealth, the rise of enormous air-conditioned shopping malls, and Qatar’s eagerness to embrace modernity. In 2003, a fire destroyed a large portion of the market. The public outrage in Qatar resulted in a large rehabilitation initiative that is still ongoing. This project has been so fruitful that additional “old alleyways” are constantly being added to the souq.
The souq is one of the most historic marketplaces in the region, and its principal business has not changed despite the area’s growing gentrification. Here you may get traditional clothing from Qatar, such as the burqa (girls’ head covering), as well as spices, fragrances, and oud (incense made from agarwood).
Before the land was recovered in the 1970s along Doha’s shoreline, merchants could arrive at Souq Waqif by boat as well as by camel. About 250 years ago, the first semipermanent stores opened here. In earlier times, when the market was frequently flooded, merchants stood and sold their items from temporary booths; the Arabic word for “standing,” waqif, is the source of the souq’s name.
Highlights of Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar
You can see more than just falconry in the market. However, the Falcon Souq is well worth your time. Arabian horses are stabled nearby, and a cage full of feeding camels can be seen right off the Corniche end of Al Jasra St.
Beware, animal lovers: beneath the vibrant spices of Souq Waqif lies a collection of caged birds and, occasionally, cats, rabbits, tortoises, and dogs, all of which are kept outside in the scorching, hot, hot heat.
Jewelry from all across the Arab world may be found in these stores, and some even include displays of historical artifacts (such as swords and seafaring relics). The majority of the souq’s stores and booths close at 1 p.m. and reopen at 4 p.m., although the area’s many restaurants and cafés stay open throughout the day.
What to do or see at Souq Waqif?
Spending time in Souq Waqif, a venue bursting with many eateries and a top-tier shopping experience, is one of the many things to do in Doha. So, if you’re planning a trip to Souq Waqif and want to see everything it has to offer, here are some of the top things to do there.
Many visitors to the city feel that Souq Waqif is the best spot to shop for new clothes. Shopping is one of the most popular things to do in Souq Waqif, Qatar, where tourists can find anything from traditional clothing to kitchenware. What’s even better? Some of the most unusual souvenirs have been found in Souq Waqif.
According to locals, each and every corner offers something special, and tourists may locate here exclusive mementos they won’t find anyplace else in Qatar. Despite the widespread acceptance of credit cards in the region, visitors planning to do any serious shopping while here are strongly advised to bring along some readily available cash.
Doha’s Souq Waqif is well-known as a destination to get unique clothing and decorative accessories, but it’s also a great spot to try authentic Qatari cuisine. This section of Souq Waqif, which is conveniently located at the entrance to Doha Corniche and is famous for its spice shops, will provide you with an unforgettable dining experience.
Spices, saffron, dried flowers, preserved lemons, and so much more are all available. What’s even better? Almost every merchant here goes out of their way to help customers choose the right combination of spices and other goods. One of the nicest things to do in Souq Waqif, Qatar, is to try out some of the local goods for yourself.
The Gold Souq is a popular stop for those enjoying a day at the traditional market. From 18-carat to 22-carat gold, and even some high-end items, the store has all the best in both vintage and contemporary jewelry.
The jewelry stores in this sector of Souq Waqif, one of the city’s most popular shopping destinations, number in the dozens. What’s even better? High-end ready-made jewelry is available, as is more conventional bridal jewelry.
Souq Waqif, in the center of Doha, is the best spot to eat. Gold Souq is a popular destination in Dubai due to the abundance of high-quality restaurants and cafés serving a variety of cuisines.
Souq Waqif, Doha, is home to both modern eateries serving up dishes inspired by global flavors and more traditional eateries where you may sample true Qatari fare. Souq Waqif also features a selection of waterfront eateries where visitors can taste some of the world’s finest dishes while taking in the breathtaking scenery. If you find yourself in Qatar, be sure to stop by Souq Waqif for some delicious local food.
Seeing a falconry demonstration is one of the highlights of every visit to Souq Waqif. The art of falconry has a significant historical role in Qatar. Falconry is a popular sport in Qatar, and the locals are just as passionate about it as they are about their country’s rich history. As it happens, this is a great place for visitors to Doha to witness falconry at its finest.
Visitors to Qatar’s Souq Waqif may sometimes find an entire market devoted to falconry there, where they can see birds perched on wooden perches or even ask vendors to let them hold a falcon. Some of these birds are even auctioned off for astronomical sums. The area even has a falcon hospital where owners may take their birds for treatment.
What to Buy at Qatar’s Famous Souq Waqif Market?
Shopping for unique and expensive items is a must for any tourist, even if the area’s restaurants and hotels are the main draws for visitors. There is a lot for visitors to look forward to, from the finest Pashmina shawls and scarves to the greatest Dalla coffee pots. The best of what can be purchased at Souq Waqif is outlined here.
Dalla Arabian Pots, the conventional coffee pots of the Middle East, are among the best items to purchase at Souq Waqif. Silver or brass is used to make the vessels. Dalla Arabian Pots have been utilized for generations in Qatar and are still often used to greet guests. Many similar containers, embellished with precious stones and other adornments, can be seen in Qatar’s Souq Waqif.
Designer wooden boxes are one of the most popular Doha souvenirs, and you can find them all around the city, even at the Hamad International Airport. These containers are available in a wide variety of eye-catching forms and patterns.
Some of the motifs on the boxes are classic, so travelers will recognize them. Furthermore, the sizes of these wooden boxes range from small to extremely large ones, in which a lot of items may be stored. Visit the famous Souq Waqif to shop for them.
If you’re in Doha Souq Waqif and you want to buy a pashmina, you’ve already found the perfect spot. Souq Waqif is a tourist’s paradise since it sells some of the world’s highest-quality pashmina shawls and scarves in a dizzying array of patterns, colors, and textures.
Here, one may buy the highest quality scarves and shawls for a fraction of the price. What’s even better? Since these goods are small and easy to transport, vacationers may buy as many as they like to share with friends and family back home.
Souq Waqif is a great site to find genuine examples of the Desert Rose. The Desert Rose, among the many handicrafts, home decor, and other items available on the market, would make a wonderful present to bring back to friends and family.
The distinctive aroma of oud is another striking feature of Doha’s commercial scene. You may smell the rich, exotic oud scent in almost any public or private space in Qatar. The agarwood tree, from which oud perfume is made, is so hard to come by that it is known as “black gold” in the Middle East.
Don’t be shocked if you find a bottle of oud perfume or some oud wood when shopping at Souq Waqif; the market is known for both. Tourists may pick up some authentic oud perfume there for a reasonable price. In fact, if there’s one scent that will always take you back to the Middle East, it’s this one.