Souq Waqif is one of the old traditional places in Qatari capital Doha and Gulf countries. The Souq which means “standing market” in Arabic, is noted for selling traditional garments, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs. It is referred as that name because vendors were used to stand on both sides of the road to show their wares and selling their various products.
Due to the rise in Qatar’s population in the 20th century, Souq Waqif’s popularity was increased. There was a rapid expansion and changes. Consequently, Qatar’s Emir, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani decided to demolish it and was put in a 2-year renovation in 2004. They reconstructed the building that could be saved using traditional Arab building techniques. This overhaul resulted into an appealing representation of its former self offering air-conditioning units for convenience, and modern shopping experience without getting out of the way of showing the world the true meaning and identity of the place.
Souq Waqif’s alleys show an authentic taste of traditional commerce, architecture and culture. They offer a wide array of shops selling Middle Eastern products from spices and seasonal delicacies to perfumes, jewelries, clothing, handicrafts, and a lot more.
Souq Waqif won’t be itself without passing through the small gold market which showcases original gold jewelry made by professional hands. It is also a home to dozens of restaurants and shisha lounges since it was renovated.
To date, Souq Waqif is considered as one of a must-see destination for tourists. A lot of people give a visit to this to purchase traditional goods. Although there are a lot of shopping centers in Doha, Souq Waqif is a special place for its own identity, products and services it offers, and most especially the ambience that it gives to people.
Lately, Souq has become a home for different occasions and festivals like National Day, Horse show, traditional concert, and more. It has hosted events like Souq Waqif Storm which features WWE wrestlers, Doha Tribeca Film Festival, etc. It is also an immediate destination for family days during the weekends with a lot of traditional music and dances that can be fully enjoyed not just by the locals but visitors as well. In short, Souq Waqif is traditional market were variety of products can be found. It is a destination for local and foreign people who want to buy traditional, unique, and interesting merchandise while still enjoy the beauty of an Arabic style architecture with a real culture-rich ambience being emphasized by live performances and seasonal festivals performed by street artists and traditional folk troupes. It can be referred as a real cultural bazaar in Qatar.