Souq Waqif: Doha’s Best Standing Street Market for Anything Qatari

Thursday, June 15, 2017 0 Comments

Souq Waqif: Doha’s Best Standing Street Market for Anything Qatari 
To be perfectly honest, Souqs are just cool if you manage to see it for the very first time. It’s only authentic, if and only if, it’s really in the Middle East (at least in my book!) with all that burning afternoon weather and golden sandy atmosphere everywhere. Aladdin and Jasmine will surely be happy and feel mellifluous to know about this place, and perhaps even be keen to roam around the streets of this Souq in Doha, Qatar.

A souq, souk, shuk, shooq, soq, esouk, succ, suk, sooq, suq, soek – no matter what the spelling is, all boils down to a traditional marketplace, similar to a standard bazaar, flee markets, night markets, street markets in South East Asia. This type of commercial quarter is very mainstream in Western Asia and in North African cities. Originally, souqs are intended to be open-air marketplaces, and were held outside cities. But, of course, if you leave in a desert kind of environment, that may be a cool idea, but it’s not really cool from a physical point of view. Hence, Doha is doing it right with their Souq Waqif.

Selling very traditional garments, spices, handicrafts, jewelries, coffees, and souvenirs, among many others, this standing market is THE place to be if you are looking for that old-style souvenir hunting place, where you can bargain and walk around narrow hallways and open areas.

At noontime, you’ll be surprised to know that close to a half of the stores, restaurants, and cafes are open. Everyone’s pretty eager to sell and keep the market alive. Of course, there’s no reason to not roam around and explore the area, because there are so many interesting trinkets to see and get to know for the very first time. But, can you imagine that for centuries, this has actually been a souq for Bedouin (nomads who have historically inhabited the Arabian and Syrian Deserts)? Yes, double cool, right? 

For a hot hot city, you’ll be surprised to see the profusion of cafes and Shisha lounges in almost every street and corner. You’ll immediately notice the vibrant colors that get embossed amidst the general sandy exteriors. Several streets that appear as mazes with no defined geometric pattern are (of course) awesome, if you end up finding these cafes.

Middle Eastern merchandises - from spices and seasonal delicacies, arts, and other historic artifacts are just some of the things that you’ll see when you walk around this Qatari culture filled place. Noticeable also would be the exceptional architecture that is exhibited far and wide.

Doha made a pretty good job in keeping the contemporary yet traditional, safe yet free, and energetic as it can be. Now, the question here is – should have I tried a Shisha lounge in broad daylight, is that a thing?

Bowdy is an amateur adventurer, a coffee sleepyhead, and a start-up rooter, with a penchant for classic-looking photos. At last count, he has visited some 51 countries, and is now living in Singapore. He's always in search of fascinating routines to exploit, within the limits of after-office hours and vacation leaves.

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