Hamad International Airport Unveils A New Traditional Qatari Souq

Hamad International Airport Unveils A New Traditional Qatari Souq By Jiny - December 13, 2023
Hamad International Airport Unveils A New Traditional Qatari Souq

QDF and HIA officials, including Thabet Musleh, Senior Vice President of Qatar Duty Free, and Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, Qatar Airways' Group CEO, attended a grand opening on December 12

Qatar Duty Free (QDF), managing retail and dining at Doha’s Hamad International Airport, introduced Souq Al Matar today. The grand opening saw QDF's leadership, VIPs, media, and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) in attendance.

Souq Al Matar, translating to "Airport Market" in Arabic, is a traditional Qatari market situated in HIA's North Node terminal. Crafted in partnership with esteemed architect Mr. Ibrahim M. Jaidah, recognized for iconic Qatar projects like Al Thumama Stadium, it showcases seven shops and two restaurants.

To immerse travelers in Qatari culture, Souq Al Matar recreates the vibrant ambiance and aesthetics of Qatar’s traditional markets. With wicker woven ceilings, arched doorways, wooden-framed windows, and various decorative elements, the market offers an authentic cultural experience. Notably, a prominent dhow boat display pays homage to Qatar’s maritime trade history and its connection to the markets.

During its initial week, Souq Al Matar presents a spectrum of cultural encounters. These include live demonstrations showcasing traditional craftsmanship such as basket-weaving and Sadu weaving, characterized by vibrant colors and geometric patterns. Greeters in traditional Qatari attire warmly welcome guests with Arabic coffee "gahwa" and dates, symbolizing Qatari hospitality. Furthermore, visitors can observe skilled artisans crafting the Bishit, a traditional men's robe, and Henna artists creating intricate designs on women's hands.

During the inauguration, a Naham group performed “sea music,” a tradition among pearl divers for motivation and entertainment during their voyages. Additionally, a renowned Qatari composer and songwriter, Dana Al Fardan, orchestrated melodies blending past and present.

Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer, highlighted the airport's commitment to offering one of the world's finest travel experiences at Hamad International Airport. He emphasized that Souq Al Matar provides passengers an opportunity to shop, dine, and embrace Qatar's essence right within the airport, transforming the airport visit into a cultural immersion beyond a mere transit hub.

Thabet Musleh, Senior Vice President of Qatar Duty Free, expressed, "Souq Al Matar doesn't just cater to everyone but delivers an unparalleled experience. It transcends providing a 'Sense of Place,' offering 'transit tourism' by directly bringing Qatar's essence to travelers. This showcases our meticulous service, establishing Qatar Duty Free as an airport retail and dining leader."

Ibrahim M. Jaidah, CEO & Chief Architect of Arab Engineering Bureau and IJAE Group, described Souq Al Matar as an immersive marketplace, mirroring the vibrant Qatari experience. Its traditional architecture fosters a welcoming ambiance, enveloping travelers in a rich cultural journey, inviting all passengers to encounter authentic Qatar during their travels.

Souq Al Matar presents a varied array of shops and dining options, reflecting products and delicacies synonymous with Qatar’s traditional markets. Featuring two restaurants and seven stores, it caters to diverse traveler preferences, ensuring an inclusive and welcoming space at HIA.

Here's a concise summary of the shops and dining choices available:

1. Khaneen: Offers a mix of traditional and contemporary premium fragrances.

2. Al Attar: Provides premium honey, dates, coffees, teas, herbs, and spices.

3. Sogha: A souvenir shop featuring various keepsakes and gifts.

4. Fwala: Showcases traditional Qatari sweets and desserts for special occasions.

5. Al Darzi: Offers traditional Qatari women’s fashion.

6. Al Beshit: Presents traditional Qatari men’s wear.

7. Dukkan: Features an assortment of confectionery, snacks, and local products.

8. Basta: A restaurant specializing in traditional Qatari and Khaleeji cuisine.

9. Chapati and Karak: A cafe-restaurant inspired by traditional Indian cuisine, a mainstay in Qatar's dining culture for over five decades.

By Jiny - December 13, 2023

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