Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar

Souq Waqif is one of my favourite places in Doha. Located in the heart of Doha’s old city, the souq area is a bustling marketplace and also hosts a number of restaurants, shisha lounges and coffee shops. The souq as a market site has been around for over a hundred years, but was restored a few years ago. Stepping into the souq overwhelms the senses – the smell of Arabic perfumes and oils, apple shishas and mint teas, the sight of the Qataris, men in their thobes and gutra, women in their abayas…

Narrow alleyways are lined with shops filled with spices, handicrafts, perfumes and sweets and all sorts of other household goods. There’s a pet souq with coloured chicks, miniature turtles and macaws (though unfortunately I haven’t heard positive things about the way animals are treated here).

We visit the souq quite frequently, whether it be for dinner with friends or an evening walk.

Below are some of the photos taken.

One of the many halls and archesBenches with tradition Bedouin designsHotel Souk Waqif
African Grey Parrot at animal soukBlue-and-yellow Macaw at animal soukJava Sparrows at animal souk
Red Parrot at animal soukBudgerigars at animal soukCockatiels/Weiros at animal souk
Green Parrot at animal soukDyed chicks at animal soukRabbits at animal souk
The animal soukThe animal souk bird sectionChildren look at the animals in the animal souk
One of Souk Waqif hallways, spices for saleOne of Souk Waqif hallways, fabrics for saleOne of the many Souk Waqif hallways
Qatari man sitting on benchLittle 'Aladdin' outfits for saleLine of wheelbarrows waiting to be used
People browsing cloths at Souk WaqifSome incense burning in one of the hallwaysTradition cloths for sale in on of the Souk Waqif hallways
Pashmina shawls for saleThe main street of Souk WaqifVarious knick-knacks for sale
The many souvenir shopsThe main street of Souk Waqif during the dayDrying linen in traditional Bedouin designs

Katara – Qatar Cultural Village, Doha, Qatar

Katara is Qatar’s Cultural Village completed in late 2010, situated to the north of Doha, Qatar between West Bay and the Pearl. It sprawls around a large artificial beach and includes many boutique societies (including the Qatar Fine Arts Society, the Qatar Photographic Society and the Doha Film Institute). Along the board walk, enjoying beach views are restaurants and lounges.

The Qatar Cultural Village consists of many beautiful buildings, including a mosque (dressed in traditional Persian mosaics), traditional Arabic pigeon houses, a Greek style amphitheatre and many smaller surrounding stores and restaurants. A walk through the maze of walkways and passageways between the buildings provides views of traditional Arabic architecture and features.

Local Qatari in traditional dress of the men’s thoub and women’s burkha add to the atmosphere of the area. Sometimes through the restaurant windows Qatari men enjoying shesha and coffee can be seen.

A popular venue for many of Qatar’s events and attractions, a main ground for the annual Doha Tribeca Film Festival and Traditional Dhow Exhibition.

Below are a few of our photos taken during our many visits. We suggest multiple visits to the area to get the full experience.

Hanging pot in basketsHarnessing the World sculpture - a veiled figure with the globe in a harnessKatara mosque with mosaics
Katara mosque minaret with mosaicsLe Vesuvio restaurantSide of the Katara amphitheatre with blue benches
Side of the Katara amphitheatreSide entrance to the Katara amphitheatreInside the Katara amphitheatre
Katara amphitheatre upper featuresKatara amphitheatre seatingKatara amphitheatre  upper features
The corridor leading down from the Katara amphitheatreOne of two traditional pigeon bird nestsOne of two traditional pigeon bird nests
One of two traditional pigeon bird nestsView from the Katara amphitheatre towards the PearlShade cloths
Shade clothsArched hallQatari lady on a bench
Minaret with gold mosaicsWooden door to MinaretLooking though the Katara amphitheatre

Qatar Ladies Open Tennis 2012

Last week we ventured out to watch the finals of the Qatar Ladies Tennis Open. The finals were between Belarusian Victoria Azarenka (ranked #1) and Australian Sam Stosur (ranked #5). As it was held on a work night, by the time we reached the match Azarenka was leading, with 6-1 in the first set. It was clear Azarenka was a stronger player, returning her shots with her infamous grunts – in the end it was a short but enjoyable game with Azarenka winning the title. Highlights included seeing Martina Hingis and Her Highness Sheikha Mozah who presented the trophies.

Victoria Azarenka with award talking to Her Highness Sheikha Mozah
Sam Stosur serve
Victoria Azarenka returning a serve
Her Highness Sheikha Mozah
Sam Stosur and Martina Hingis

Takashi Murakami – Ego Exhibition

On the weekend we decided to visit the Al Riwaq Exhibition Hall on the corniche which was holding an exhibition titled “Ego” by artist Takashi Murakami.

Greeting you at the entrance foyer to the exhibition reveals a sense of ‘Ego’, a six metre high inflatable sculpture of the artist himself.

The first thoughts inside the gallery are, colourful, the vibrant colours pop-out to you in the paintings, the sculptures look like they belong in a children’s computer game. Everything perfectly painted, with meticulous detail.

Recently commissioned, a large thirty metre mural shows a darker side of Murakami, reflecting the recent chaos caused by the Japan earthquakes.

Unfortunately photography was not allowed inside the exhibit so we had to make do with photos taken at the entrance and outside the building.

Signature flowers with happy faces
Sonya with the happy flowers
Travis and the six meter high Takashi Murakami
Signature flowers with happy faces
Qatar Japan 2012
Six meter high Takashi Murakami
Ego Exhibition sign
The decorated exhibition building