If you are looking for a place to shop, dine, and have a good time, Souq Waqif will not cease to amaze you. Here are ten things that should be on your to-do list while visiting this exciting souk:
Whether you are looking for embroidered cloaks or traditional scarfs, an abundant array of clothing is available in Souk Wakif. Lose yourself in the myriad of alleys filled with fabulous apparel to take home with you. Remember to keep cash in hand as most of the shopkeepers here do not accept cards. If you end up buying more than you can't handle, you can find a small army of wheelbarrow-pushing men to come to your rescue. They will happily bring your purchases to your car for a few Qatari Riyals.
If you are fond of cooking and always on the lookout for enticing flavours, this is a place to be. You will be amazed at the overflowing sacks of various different spices and crates of tea leaves and nuts at a number of stores. From pure saffron, sumac, sweets, honey to dried flowers and sweet lemon – you name it and they have it. The shopkeepers here will be happy to take you through all the tantalizing options and explore the tempting tastes.
Your visit to souk will not be complete unless you have tried the eateries here. Damasca One is a popular restaurant offering authentic Arabic delicacies from Syria and Levant. At the glittering and palatial Parisa, you can taste the Iranian delights under chandeliers hanging from mirror covered ceilings.
At the edge of the Souq Waqif is the Falcon Souq, dedicated to the birds of prey which are highly respected by Qataris. Falconry is a historical sport that is still widely practiced in Qatar. You can request to have a falcon perch on your arms under the supervision of a shopkeeper. The falcons here are auctioned, bought, and sold for thousands of dollars.
Looking to take something back for your family and friends? You can choose among leather items, intricate handicrafts, and beautifully made lampshades. Here you can also find unique items like salt and pepper shakers shaped like a traditional couple or old canvas paintings of Qatar. Coffee pots and embroidered pashminas are also tourist favourites.
Besides the various options to shop and eat, Souq Waqif is also host to a number of art galleries and exhibition spaces. The most popular among all is the Souq Waqif art center, where you find great works of local and international artists.
A small walk from the Falcon Souq is the place where horse stables are designed to give you the feel of a bygone era when prized Arabian horses were an important part of everyday life.
Hungry, yeah! What about some home-cooked food? A group of women sells home-cooked food in an open setting in the Souq to satisfy your craving for homemade Qatari food. Very affordable, their prices range from QR 5 to QR 20, and they offer traditional dishes such as Majbooj, Harees, Kushari, Kousa Mahshi, Mathrooba and many more. One of the favourite dishes is freshly-made, flat crêpes. You can choose a variety of toppings.
The Majlis Al Dama is a coffee shop located in Souq Waqif, is popular among locals for its Qahwa helw, and Karak. The Majlis Al Dama houses plenty of backgammon boards, so if you are looking a good time, order your favourite food, learn the game and test your opponent over a friendly battle of wits.
Just near Souq Waqif, there is a separate building with many shops known as Gold Souq. The shops here specialise in high-end 18 and 22 carat gold jewelry. Whether it is dazzling necklaces or earrings you are searching for or glittering pure gems, the souq has it all. The place is also a popular hub for people looking for secondhand luxury watches. Traditional bridal jewelry like gold belts and hair accessories are also very sought after items found here. The shopkeepers have readymade designs but will be happy to customise one for you on request. You can even purchase customised jewelry with your name written in Arabic.
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