Attractions

Souq Waqif literally means “standing market”.  It’s a market so shopping is the main activity here. If you are not from the Gulf region then everything here is enough to enchant you.

Shopping

Shopping in Souq WaqifExplore different alleys to find more shops and stores that sell traditional goods, from daily necessities like spices to fabric, fashion, handicrafts and Shisha pipes.  The souq is not very big, though if you think “I will come back later to get it.”, you may not be able to find it again.

There is also a bird market and various pet shops selling chicks, rabbits and all kinds of pets. (Read more)

Art Gallery

Al Markhiya gallery, DohaSouq Waqif Art Centre

The Souq Waqif Art Centre was opened in 2008.  It started off with some small artistic shops and workshops offering art class. But it was closed 2 years later when the rental contract was not renewed.  In 2012, it was re-opened. And it does not only showcase local artists’ work but also holds exhibitions for global artists. The Art Centre now aims to preserve and inspire both local and Middle Eastern artists, and share ideas and knowledge among anyone who loves art and culture.

Al Markhiya Gallery

This oldest art gallery in Doha exhibits modern artworks from both local artists and the Gulf region. And it’s not far from the Souq Waqif Art Centre.

Festivals and Performances

Souq Waqif Spring Festival

Souq Waqif Spring Festival has become a recurring event each year. The 15-day festival scatters all over the Douq.  There are shows at Al Rayyan Theatre, games and activities at the Games Village at Al Almed Square, circus, clowns and street performers at the souq alley and art workshops at the Souq Waqif Art Centre. Don’t forget the dolphin shows too. The festival is for everyone!

Monuments

Al Khoot Fort aka Doha Fort (museum)

Situated next to the Camel Souq and Souq Waqf, the Doha Fort has undergone multiple conversions throughout its lifetime.  It was first build as a military barracks in 1880 under Ottoman occupation. It was then convert into a police station, a prison in 1906, a fort in 1927 and finally a museum in 1978. The museum now houses both traditional Qatari crafts like gold works, wood works, history and Bedouin handicrafts together with military arms that were once used in the fort.

 

 

 

 

Other souqs

Souq Waqif is certainly the most attractive and vibrant souq in Doha, not to mention its historical status. It’s not just a tourist attraction but locals come to look for traditional Qatari goods as well. (See “What can you buy in Souq Waqif“) However, there are souqs that specialize in different merchandise which also make them one of a kind. Here are some other souqs.

Falconry in QatarFalcon Souq

The Falcon Souq is yet another amazing experience that you shouldn’t miss.  Falconry is one of the favourite hobbies of Qatari men. It can get rather obsessive.  In Falcon Souq, you can buy anything from the falcons to all rearing and training equipment.

Gold Souq

The Gold Souq is very close to Souq Waqif. A few of the shops still sell bullion though most other shops focus on gold and silver jewellry with or without precious stones. All golden jewellery sold has a government stamp to prove its purity.  It’s well worth a visit even you don’t intent to buy. The shopkeepers are not pushy.

Opening hours: Saturday~Thursday 9a.m.- noon, 4p.m.- 8p.m.  Friday 4p.m. – 8p.m.

Omani Souq

 Located behind the Salwa Central Market, Omani Souq is small yet comprehensive.  It sells a big range of goods – from spices, nuts and dried fish, to perfume and incense burners. Camel sticks and other household items can be found here too.

Another Souq Waqif, Al Wakrah

After the big success of the original Souq Waqif in Al Jasra, the government has decided to replicate it and build another one in Al Wakrah. It was designed to be a mix of the original Souq Waqif and Katara Cultural Village.

 

Shopping in Souq Waqif

Souq Waqif, literally means standing market in Arabic. This is the very site where the Bedouin, the nomads who inhabited in the Arabian deserts, sold their wool and animals.

Today, the souq is renowned for selling traditional Qatari garments, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs. In recent years, people start to appreciate local Qatari artists and the souq has become a hot spot for art galleries and workshops too.

What can you buy in Souq Waqif

Carpet selling in Souq WaqifTraditional goods:

  • Pashimina
  • Bedouin weaving
  • Carpet
  • Abaya fashion
  • embroidery garment for men and women
  • Shisha
  • incense (including the famous oud aka agarwood or aloes wood)
  • pots

Food:

  • spices
  • dried fruit
  • nuts
  • honey

Pet shops in the souqPets and animals:

  • Bird market – you can find all kinds of birds, colored chicks, pet food and equipment here.
  • Rabbits
  • falcon souq

Art and crafts:

  • local Qatari artists’ works
  • wooden bridal chests
  • model dhows
  • gypsum handicrafts
  • other wooden crafts

Others:

  • tools
  • garden equipment
  • hardware

If your shopping is getting heavy, get a hamali (wheelbarrow porter) to help you.  For a small fee, he will help to put your shopping to your car.  Don’t want to carry the carpets, fabric and any other heavy shopping home? Just post them. See if there is a post office near you.

Still can’t find what you want? Or you want to see something different?  There are other souqs that are well worth visiting too!