When it comes to gifts, Qatar has a lot to offer that reflect the traditions of the Arab culture! Our handy guide will help you select the best souvenirs to take on your travels when visiting your family and friends.
From dates to jewellery, you'll find an array of items in Qatar that reflect the local culture and heritage. The ILoveQatar.net (ILQ) team has put together a roundup of some souvenirs and where to find them!
Note: The prices mentioned below are approximate and are subject to change.
Hospitality in Qatar is almost synonymous with the term “dates”; be it to complement arabic coffee (Gahwa) while at home, or to welcome guests in private and public facilities. There is something to suit everybody’s taste, thanks to the versatility of dates that one can enjoy; be it raw, ripened, stuffed with nuts, coated in chocolate and many more.
These are a quick pick as well, to be found easily at grocery stores or supermarkets such as Al Meera (sold in kilo or packages), Lulu (sold in kilo or packages), Souq Waqif (sold in kilo) or even premium quality in luxury packaging at available at the different malls in the country.
Starting price: QR 25 (per kilo - loose dates) / QR 15 (per kilo - packed dates)
One does not take much time to identify that fragrance is a distinct aspect of Qatari culture. From households to clothing; the rustic traditional aroma is one to catch your attention for sure, which is courtesy of the wood-based oil-dipped traditional incense named bukhoor.
Typically, lit up in a “Bukhoor pot” which is a flame-proof holder upon which coal and bukhoor are laid on and then smoked up to emit the aromatic fragrance. The pots come in all shapes and sizes; to each a unique decorative design making for an aesthetic keepsake.
This one is an easy find at Souq Waqif or supermarkets as well; which can be bought together with the variety of bukhoor fragrances that the shops would have to offer.
Starting price: Bukhoor Pots - QR 10 / Bukhoor - QR 10
If you are looking for a light and easy-to-go souvenir this foldable memento is one to opt for.
Originating from the majlis seating culture of Qatar; which is typically a low-lying seating in a gathering space, this is a tradition that is still practised. While cushion designs, cover & carpet fabrics and interior decorations have evolved over the years; the Sadu pattern still resonates with the culture of Qatar; thus adding a touch of Qatar to any space it is placed in.
This hand-woven collectible can be found easily at Souq Waqif or Souq Najada at minimal expense.
Starting price: QR 25
As it is well-known many traditions and cultural-aspects of Qatar are inherited from Islamic rituals; such is that of the Misbaha which is a string of beads with a tassel used typically as a counter to chant religious verses.
However, this is also significant to the identity of the typical Qatari man who carries it in hand to complement the thobe. These Misbaha’s are also used to decorate corners of households or coffee-tables given that they come in the most vibrant of colours and sizes making them an attractive ornament.
Your go-to place for an array of misbaha’s would be Souq Waqif, which brings them to you at a range of prices as well; ensuring your budget is met. To make it all-the-more relevant; if you are lucky-enough you could get a hold of one with a Qatar emblem.
Starting price: QR 5
Sweets are an essential part of Qatari culture and one that you would want to take back with you for sure; be it for some self-indulgence or for those you care to share with.
You will be spoilt for choice for sure with sugar-dipped delectables such as Luqaimat, Kunafa or various Baklavas.
Reach out to places such as Al Aker Sweets, Nabeel Nafiseh or Luqimaty to pick up these treats. Do make sure to request for a “travel special” packaging to ensure your sweets are damage-proof till it reaches your souvenir receiver.
Starting price: QR 25
While most souvenirs are antiques, a contemporary twist to a keepsake from Qatar would be the Desert Rose which is a statement on its own.
Being an inspiration to one of the most momentous structures of the country - National Museum of Qatar; the desert rose is a natural formation of gypsum or baryte to be found in the sandy deserts of Qatar. The formation is a multi-layered cluster; replicating the visual of a rose.
This ornament of a kind would be the definition of uniqueness and a collector’s dream. Find it at places such as Souq Waqif or pick it up at IN-Q Gift Shop.
Starting price: QR 50
The significance of the sword in Qatar is very prominent; rooting from bedouin culture making its way up to the sword-dance (Ardha) being an essential part of any celebration; be it a wedding or national day; however, only in the congregation of men.
Given the importance and relevance to Qatari culture you will find many antique stores or souvenir stores around the city selling wall-hangings which are essentially elaborate metal swords framed to perfection.
These could be found in large sizes or miniatures, and your one-stop shop would be Souq Waqif or any other home decoration stores at the malls.
Starting price: Miniature - QR 30 / Large - QR 500 / Without frame - QR 120
You could be a visitor to Qatar or a resident; inevitably you would be introduced to the rather aromatic and strong arabic coffee which is brewed on a hot stove; pulling together ground arabica coffee and cardamom.
While the flavour of the coffee is distinctive in itself, the petite cups that it gets served in are a piece of art on their own. Intricate yet extravagant designs along with embellishments making them a valuable souvenir.
These gahwa cup sets can range in prices based on the design you opt for and where you buy them from. You could reach out to Souq Waqif for this collectible as well or even other stand-alone stores such as Al Rawnaq and Al Shaheen that bring to you quite a selection.
Starting price: QR 30
Learn how to make Gahwa here: How to make Arabic coffee (gahwa) the traditional Qatari way!
This keepsake intertwines the true Qatari feel with creativity by bringing to you a jar of memories to take back with you or to handover saying “I brought with me a bit of the desert for you”.
Illustrating different sceneries of Qatar such as the sand dunes, imagery of camels or even an inscription of “Qatar”; these sand-jars are carefully handmade to reflect all things relevant.
This would be an easy-pick from the souvenir outlets down the alleys of Souq Waqif or even off the shelves of Al Shaheen.
Starting price: QR 15-20 (subjective to size)
If you’ve been blessed with an opportunity to taste authentic Qatari food; it would leave your mind-blown from the explosion of flavours it brings out.
These are infusions of the aromatic dry-spices that are true to Qatari food. Saffron, cardamom, dry lemon are some of the essential ingredients to classic Qatari food amongst many others.
Easy-to-find, easy-to-store and easy-to-pack; get a hold of these at any supermarket or at the good old Souq Waqif.
Starting price: Cardamoms (500 gms) QR 30 / Dry lemon (500 gms) QR 16/ Saffron (1 gm) QR 20
Just the way coffee plays a strong role in Qatari culture, tea brewing does as well. Before moving into the day and age of crockery made of melamine, ceramic and other modern materials; old Qatar served tea, coffee and food in hand-painted enamel crockery.
These are brightly coloured and scream tradition given the patterns they represent. If they seem to be too heavy; pick up a miniature.
Get your hands on any of these beauties at Souq Waqif, Al Rawnaq or Al Shaheen. They won’t be breaking the bank either.
Starting price: QR 18
Written by Khadiza Begum; Updated by Fareeha Imtiaz
Are you as thrilled as we are to go souvenir shopping? Do let us know in the comments below. Do share this article - it keeps us going!
If you have anything you want to share with us, send us an e-mail at [email protected]!
Want to send a tip? Drop us an e-mail at [email protected], anonymity is guaranteed!
You have successfully registered your account!Please confirm your e-mail address by clicking on the URL sent to you.The e-mail usually arrives in 5-10 minutes.
How ajeeb was that!? Thanks for contributing to our community! Your post will appear after we take a quick look!