Souq Waqif is one of the most important tourist and heritage landmarks in the State of Qatar, maintaining an original architectural structure that emphasizes the country's interest and pride in its authentic culture and heritage.
Souq Waqif, one of the oldest Qatari and Gulf market, was established in downtown Doha in 1955 on site of the old Doha market which dates 100 years back.
Souq Waqif was renovated in 2004, emphasizing the keenness of preserving the heritage of the ancestors as a source of pride for generations. The renovation plan was developed in accordance with Qatar's architectural heritage and traditional building materials.
Many reactional and public events will take place in Souq Waqif during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Billboards, kiosks and all decorations have been completed. The corridors were decorated with artistic sculptures reflecting the spirit of the Mundial.
Special heritage events will be held under the name "Arabian Tent" in the northern area of Souq Waqif. It celebrates the Arab region and the local and Arab heritage, introducing the Qatari customs and traditions to the fans in a simple way, including the traditional tent, the Qatari hospitality and the heritage professions which represent an integral part of the old local culture.
Dating 100 year back, the name of Souq Waqif translates to "standing market" because merchants had to stand all day due to the small area which was divided by a small valley with rushing sea water that left only a narrow passage.
Now, Souq Waqif is one of the most distinguished Qatari heritage monuments, a thriving marketplace and one of the favorite destinations for citizens and tourists alike, offering a wide range of traditional goods, handicrafts, perfumes, spices, goldsmithing, sewing, as well as daggers, swords, musical instruments and rare birds such as falcons, parrots and others.
Visitors to Souq Waqif can notice the ancient architecture of its corridors, walls and shops showing the features of Qatar's rich history that reflects the authentic values and morals of the Qatari people, and the journey from the beauty of simple life to broad prospects of urbanization and civilized renaissance.
The renovation process of Souq Waqif combined its past and present, transforming it from a simple heritage site for taking souvenir photos into a magnificent area that presents various cultural and heritage activities, and a marketplace for national and traditional products.
Perhaps the most important characteristic of Souq Waqif is the preservation of this architectural art in all corridors, as it embraces owners of traditional professions and crafts, especially goldsmithing.
A few meters away from the shops, visitors can enjoy the "Majalis" seating areas which consist of traditional wooden benches covered with the "dawashiq" or burgundy-colored pillows, and offer popular Qatari dishes.
Souq Waqif hosts distinctive tourism projects including high-end hotels and the cultural edifices that can absorb all official and private activities, most notably Abdul Aziz Nasser Theatre.
The administration of Souq Waqif is keen to organize activities and events to mark various seasons and occasions, including musical and theatrical performances that suit different age groups and attract many visitors, especially with the large and diverse number of hotels, coffee shops and restaurants from different cultures; in addition to cultural centers, especially the Souq Waqif Art Center which serves as an open museum to the visitors.
The Souq offers artifacts from all over the region, ranging from shoes to antiques, handicrafts and fishing gear as well as pearl diving equipment, woven fabrics, carpets, wooden furniture and glass ornaments made in the nearby workshops. Promising musicians can enjoy a local variety of drums, flutes and stringed instruments, including the oud instrument.
Visitors to Souq Waqif enjoy the aroma of spices as the market offers various Arab flavors and spices, such as saffron, thyme, sumac, dried flowers, and countless types of dates, honey, tea leaves and coffee beans.
In the pearl shop, located in the middle of the handicraft shops, you can learn about the art of pearl fishing and see many types of white, pink and gray pearls.
Many of the region's traditional perfumes and cosmetics can also be explored at this market, ranging from oud and musk to custom-made perfumes, kohl, argan oil and henna designs.
Souq Waqif is filled with foods that express different cultures, including traditional dishes offered by local women in the central courtyard such as Harees, Thareed, Marqouqah and others, as well as modern dishes such as samosas, stuffed grape leaves, meat stews and others.
Souq Waqif is one of the most popular places to hang out with friends, especially after sunset. Roadside cafes and restaurants are open until the wee hours of the day and offer endless services of beverages and food as well as TV screens to watch football matches. Some places, such as Majlis Al Dana offers popular board games.
For the fifth year in a row, Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels has been recognized by Conde Nast Traveler 2022 Readers' Choice Awards in its 35th edition as the fifth among the Best 20 Hotels in the Middle East and 39 in the Best 50 Hotels in the world, consolidating Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels position in the hospitality industry, especially with the unique features being the ideal destination for heritage, luxury and plush stays, in addition to being the best address for rejuvenating and indulging in a variety of culinary options highlighting diverse international cuisines, and its favorable strategic location in the heart of the historical Souq Waqif at the center of the vibrant city of Doha.
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