Since ancient times, traders and merchants have congregated in traditional markets to both socialise and to provide for the daily needs of the local community. These souqs are still very much part of modern life in Qatar. Some specialize in a particular product area, such as fish or fruit and vegetables.
Others cover a vast and varied range of different items though, even here, certain areas of the market are often devoted to groups of adjacent shops all selling related products, such as clothing and fabric, gold and jewellery, spices or kitchen wares.
As noted elsewhere Doha’s central market, Souq Waqif, with its maze of alleyways and unique architecture and ambience, ranks as a major visitor attraction in its own right. But it’s is a great place for the dedicated shopper too, ideal for finding souvenirs and regional specialities.
Popular purchases include: carpets, rugs and textiles; Bedouin weaving; Arabic coffee pots; antique silver; incense burners; prayer beads; inlaid jewellery boxes; miniature dhows; brass items; and regional art and handicrafts.
The market – as well as the nearby specialist gold souq - is also an excellent source of great value jewellery, precious metals and stones. Souq Waqif is also home to many excellent restaurants and coffee shops excelling in regional cuisine to fit all price brackets.
Outside Doha, the port city of Al Wakra lying just to the south of the capital has its own thriving market– Souq Waqif Al Wakra, which is also full of popular restaurants and coffee shops which are open until late in the evening.