Souq Waqif (Arabic: سوق واقف Sūq Wāqif, "the standing market") is a marketplace (souq) in Doha, in the state of Qatar. The souq sells traditional garments, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs. It is also home to restaurants and shisha lounges. The original building dates back to the late 19th to early 20th centuries in a traditional Qatari architectural style. It was renovated in 2006.

Souq Waqif
Native nameسوق واقف (Arabic)
LocationDoha, Qatar
Coordinates25°17′14.58″N 51°31′59.54″E / 25.2873833°N 51.5332056°E / 25.2873833; 51.5332056
CompletionLate 19th century-early 20th century

Location edit

It is located in the district of Al Souq which is situated in the centre of Doha.[1] As it was a market used for trading activities, the area used to be located immediately adjoining the shore to allow for boats to access it. Although still facing the water, the direct link to the water front for boats is now divided by a major road and the recently completed park.

History edit

The souq comprises many narrow alleyways
Seller in Souq Waqif

The souq was founded at least a century ago in proximity of the dry river bed known as Wadi Musheireb. It was a gathering place where Bedouins and locals would trade a variety of goods,[2] primarily livestock goods.[3] However with the boom in prosperity in the 1990s, the Souq fell into decline and in 2003, most of it was destroyed in a fire. This event initiated a restoration program by the government in 2006, with the purpose of preserving its architectural and historical identity. The first phase of restoration was funded by the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifah al Thani and his wife Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.[4] Buildings constructed after the 1950s were demolished whereas older structures were refurbished. The restoration was completed in 2008.[5] Traditional heating methods are employed by utilizing wood and bamboo imported from various areas of Asia.[3]

Tourism and attractions edit

The souq is considered a tourist attraction within Doha.[6][7]

A yearly spring festival around April[8] hosts many theatricals, acrobatics and musical performances.[9] An event featuring WWE wrestlers, called Souq Waqif Storm, attracted the most spectators. There was discussion over the possibility of a repeat festival.[10]

Pet area edit

Souq Waqif

There are pet stalls in Souq Waqif which sell a variety of domestic pets, including dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles and birds. The sub-par living conditions of the pets has been the subject of advocacy campaigns in recent years, with proponents arguing that the animals suffer from a lack of proper healthcare and exposure to adverse weather conditions. Furthermore, some customers allege that stall owners falsify vaccination records.[11] There is also a separate area in the souq reserved for falcon handling.[2] The falcon souq, as it's called, sells not only falcons but also the needed accessories such as landing pads and GPS guidance systems for the birds.[4] Within the vicinity is also a Falcon Hospital.

Al Rayyan Theatre edit

A 980-seat indoor theatre known as Al Rayyan Theatre is located in the souq.[12]

References edit

  1. ^ "Traditional shopping and back street bargains in Doha". Time Out Doha. 30 April 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  2. ^ a b Victoria Scott. "Souq Waqif, Doha". Qulture. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  3. ^ a b Rachel Morris (3 August 2011). "Souq Waqif, Doha's resilient, labyrinthine market". BBC. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  4. ^ a b Morris, Rachel. "Souq Waqif, Doha's resilient, labyrinthine market". Retrieved 2017-11-13.
  5. ^ Exell, Karen; Rico, Trinidad (2014). Cultural Heritage in the Arabian Peninsula: Debates, Discourses and Practices. Ashgate. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-4094-7009-0.
  6. ^ "doha city tour". Retrieved 11 Nov 2017.
  7. ^ Natalie Avon (3 December 2010). "5 destinations to explore in Qatar". CNN. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Souq Waqif Spring Festival 2015". NRI Cafe. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Wrestlers to compete for Qatar title during Souq Waqif festival". Doha News. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Souq Waqif fiesta ends on high note". Gulf Times. 18 April 2015.
  11. ^ Nada Badawi; Victoria Scott (25 May 2014). "Thousands sign petition urging better conditions at Qatar's pet souq". Doha News. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  12. ^ Raynald C. Rivera (18 October 2013). "Popular cartoon shows entertain audience". The Peninsula. Archived from the original on 16 March 2016. Retrieved 18 December 2015.

External links edit