Souk Waqif: Doha, Qatar
Souk Waqif was restored in 2004 after years of neglect. Souk Waqif means “Standing Market,” a name that dates from the time when Doha was a village split in two by a wadi. When this waterway flooded the villagers were forced to sell their wares on the banks of the wadi with no room to sit down.
The most enjoyable aspect of the souk is that it has something for tourists and locals. Visitors can be buying bric-a-brac and T-shirts while nearby a Qatari is buying a toilet plunger and a rake. The architecture is almost perfect and the photo opportunities excellent as women in burkas and Western tourists mingle contentedly together.
Should you be visiting in the heat of the day, the taxi drivers also know Souk Waqif as the Old Souk. The souk is best visited in the late afternoon and early evening as there are many excellent cafes and restaurants to explore as well as the spice stalls, weavings, and food delicacies. This is a place to wander around in, get lost, and then rediscover yourself. The Waqif Arts Centre is found in Souk Waqif.
Nearby are the Gold Souk and the Doha Fort, which is also known as the Al Koot Fort.
Julian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/details.asp?portfolio=13734