Qatar’s Souq Waqif For Sensory Overload: Spices, Dresses, Silver, Gems, Wood & More…


The market in Doha Qatar is actually new but it was built to look old, so it has that old town look-and-feel, which adds to the charm when you’re shopping or dining, by day or night.

Referred to as the Souq Waqif (there are other souqs in Doha), it was formerly a spot for centuries where the Bedu brought sheep, goats, wool and other things to trade. Apparently it was nearly condemned for demolition until they decided to renovate and redevelop it to resemble a 19th-century souq.

Today, there are plenty of nooks, crannies and narrow alleyways to walk through, however the buildings are new: mud-rendered shops show exposed timber beams in and around restored buildings that show their original elegance and charm. 

People tend to go there to socialize and eat more than they do to shop. There are simply too many malls with western influence scattered throughout the city and outskirts.

That said, tourists always wind up here as do locals who want to meet friends for dinner — there is plenty of outdoor seating, which is reliable here since it barely rains.

No alcohol however, so if you’re okay grabbing a traditional and tasty meal along with tea, coffee, soda, water or juice, it’s the perfect night out. Cuisine is heavily influence by Lebanon and Morocco although there are variations. If you want sushi or Italian pasta with a fabulous bottle of Cabernet, stick to the hotels or few places in the city that may be lucky to have a liquor license.

If you do want to shop, it’s a bargaining culture just like most markets. You can find all sorts of things, from decadent gold and silver tea kettles, incense holders, ornate painted wooden boxes, henna paint for your hands, traditional Qatari dress, embroidered bukhnoq (girl’s head covering), spices, perfumes, jewelry, knock-off sunglasses, children’s shoes, materials, cashmere scarves and antiques.

























































































































































































They also have an exotic incense made from agar wood, which if you love an sensory overload, this is a great take-home.

Throughout the winding streets, there is a host of restaurants and cafes – some authentic and traditional and some not, but most offer an opportunity to smoke the hookah pipe, which is a regular siting pretty much anywhere in the Souq.

The entire experience was great, especially after many days of western hotels and shiny buildings in the city center. While the souq may not authentically be old, it was re-developed in the original location of one and the charm, the warmth of the people and the countless things to sample and sense are all worth it.

For more on Qatar, check this section out and for an interesting post on the Murakami Ego exhibit, also in Dohago here. For more on arts in general, go here.

Photo credits: Renee Blodgett.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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