Traveling — Qatar

A Walk in The Souq

A local experience in a foreign land.

Agnes Louis
Dec 22, 2020 · 4 min read
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A colourful offerings. ©Agnes Louis

Souq (n)

a free-market where vendors can say the going market price for their products. The term is often used for the market in any Arab or Muslim city. In modern times, it appears in Western cities, too. It may also be the weekly market in some smaller towns where no tribal conflicts would be allowed.

— Wikipedia

Intricate chess pieces. ©Agnes Louis

I remember my first few weeks in Doha, Qatar. Dubbed the richest country in the world, I was actually told by my taxi driver that I only need one week to explore the whole country.

“Nothing much to see or do here, Miss,” the taxi driver said.

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One of the minarets in the souq. ©Agnes Louis

“Huh,” I thought.

I proceed to have a short pleasant chat with the driver about life in Qatar and tried to extract as much information as I could about the country I was about to explore for a bit.

The alleys. ©Agnes Louis

Souq Waqif had been one of the first few places I explored when I first arrived in Qatar.

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Tea, anyone? ©Agnes Louis

It was quite a bizarre market experience with a lot of beautiful offers.

Well, bizarre for me who had to that point of my visit had never been to any Middle Eastern countries.

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Ratan basket weaved with colours. ©Agnes Louis

Souq Waqif’s history can be traced back to around 250 years ago.

According to The Peninsula, the Arabic word ‘Waqif’ means ‘standing’.

In the olden days, merchants used to sell their items — fish, clothes, spices, wood — standing by the entrance. The name has stuck ever since.

The souq’s exterior. ©Agnes Louis

In 2000, the Qatari government began the souq’s restoration, reconstructing the traditional architectural style, emphasizing on the historical importance of market that has been known as one of the local landmarks — building a bridge between the past and the present.

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The green windows. ©Agnes Louis

You can find a lot of things in the souq.

There’s something for everyone.

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Beautiful wooden boxes. ©Agnes Louis

There are amusement rides and lots of space for children to play and run around.

There are also handicraft, heritage jewellery pieces, and an assortment of decorated silver and copper swords and daggers for you to bring home as a souvenir.

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Even the wheelbarrow is covered with beautiful cloth. ©Agnes Louis

You can also find both modern and traditional clothes among the items for sale, along with perfumes, incense, preserved dried fruits and local sweets.

Hungry from all the shopping and sightseeing? No problem.

The souq offers an array of delicacies, both local and international.

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One of the restaurants. ©Agnes Louis

Prior to Qatar, I have very little knowledge of Middle Eastern countries.

I still don’t have much, but I do know the culture a bit better now.

This experience has opened a door that leads to a whole new world for me.

I am intrigued.

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In love with the colourful lights. ©Agnes Louis

One week — enough to explore and see what the country has to offer.

I think it’s a great deal.

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Vagabond Voices

Welcome to Vagabond Voices.

Agnes Louis

Written by

Writer by heart. Teacher (English, Yoga, Pilates) by trade. Avid reader. World traveller. Model. You can reach me at agneslouis3108@gmail.com.

Vagabond Voices

Welcome to Vagabond Voices. Show us where you’ve walked…and let us wander with you. Poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction, multilingual writers welcome.

Agnes Louis

Written by

Writer by heart. Teacher (English, Yoga, Pilates) by trade. Avid reader. World traveller. Model. You can reach me at agneslouis3108@gmail.com.

Vagabond Voices

Welcome to Vagabond Voices. Show us where you’ve walked…and let us wander with you. Poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction, multilingual writers welcome.

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