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Souq Waqif at night
Souq Waqif (Arabic: سوق واقف, "the standing market") is a souq in Doha, in the state of Qatar. The souq is noted for selling traditional garments, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs. It is also home to dozens of restaurants and Shisha lounges. Although it dates back at least a hundred years, it was renovated in 2006 to conserve its traditional architectural style.
The souq was founded at least a century ago in proximity of the dry riverbed known as Wadi Musheireb. It was a gathering place where Bedouins and locals would trade a variety of goods, primarily livestock goods. In 2006, the government launched a restoration program with the purpose of preserving its architectural and historical identity. Buildings constructed after the 1950s were demolished whereas older structures were refurbished. The restoration was completed in 2008. Traditional heating methods are employed by utilizing wood and bamboo imported from various areas of Asia.
Tourism and attractions
The souq is considered one of the top tourist destinations within Doha. Thousands of people from across the region frequent it to purchase traditional goods. It hosts several art galleries, events and local concerts.
From 10 April to 17 April 2015, the souq hosted a spring festival. Among the activities were theatricals, acrobatics and musical performances. An event featuring WWE wrestlers, called Souq Waqif Storm, attracted the most spectators. There was discussion over the possibility of a repeat festival.
There are pet stalls in Souq Waqif which sell a variety of domestic pets, including dogs, cats, rabbits, turtles and birds. The sub-par living conditions of the pets has been the subject of advocacy campaigns in recent years, with proponents arguing that the animals suffer from a lack of proper healthcare and exposure to adverse weather conditions. Furthermore, some customers allege that stall owners falsify vaccination records. There is also a separate area in the souq reserved for falcon handling.
Al Rayyan Theatre
A 980-seat indoor theatre known as Al Rayyan Theatre is located in the souq.
Souq Waqif Art Centre
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The Souq Waqif Art Centre is located close to the Fish Market. The Centre combines a selection of small and artistic shops with a number of exhibition rooms laid out around a long narrow courtyard. Outside the rooms lie sculptures and chests inlaid with turtle shell.
Exhibitions have included The Islamic Arts exhibition, with displays of ancient calligraphy, some dating back centuries, and displays of carpets and photography.
The Souq Waqif was used as a filming location for a number of films screened at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival 2009, including the action film 'Dohard' directed by Dean Alexandrou and Masato Riesser, and produced by Waheed Khan, and 'The Haggler' directed and produced by the DTFF.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Souq Waqif.|
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