The blend between old and new is almost indistinguishable in Doha’s Souq Waquif, but what is certainly visible are all the ways in which the senses are appealed to in the timeless task of wandering through an Arabian market.
The Souq is easily walkable from the Corniche which wraps around the entire coastline of Doha. It is around a half hour walk from the central district of skyscrapers, but the walk is scenic and the views stretch on and give one of the city’s best impressions.
One of the most telling signs you have entered the souq, is the smell of spices at every turn. Distinctive smells such as Indian turmeric, Iranian cumin and Indian cinnamon bark, make for a spice overload.
The market for carpets, furniture, clothing, textiles and lights are very impressive as well. In this case it is ver reminiscent of the markets of Istanbul or Morocco, but here it is much smaller so it is never overwhelming. Al Freya is the spot for maritime crafts, where they locally produce the special nets used for fishing out oysters that carry the country’s world-famous pearls. Nomadic accessories that are handmade and authentic can be found in Al Jameela or Abu Nakhla.
The food offerings range from fast paced little cafe’s to food stalls and more slow food venues of distinction. The nice thing is everything is clean, organized and there are hardly ever any lines. Doha’s market has just the right amount of everything so that it is pedestrian, walkable, tasty, alluring and authentic in all the right ways. It rivals the markets of many Arabian Gulf Cities for its efficiency and appeal.