Located behind the Corniche, off Grand Hamed St, Souq Waqif is a showpiece of traditional architecture, handicrafts and folk art, and was once a weekend trading area for the Bedouin.
Meaning “standing market” in Arabic, the Souq evokes the feeling of ancient Arabic heritage and community. Beginning in 2004, the Souq was renovated according to traditional Qatari architectural techniques, using authentic materials.
The only traditional souq to remain in the Gulf, it’s now a charming labyrinth of narrow streets where visitors can bargain and purchase an amazingly diverse range of products including spices, dried fruit, nuts, perfumes, local honey, clothing, oud, incense, pots, tools and garden equipment, as well as Bedouin weaving, gypsum handicrafts, model dhows, wooden brass-studded bridal chests, pictures of ‘old Doha’, and paintings by Qatari artists.
A visit to one of the falcon shops is a unique experience – some shopkeepers will allow you to photograph and handle the birds while explaining equipment and training.
Doha Freedom and Creativity Festival
Jointly organized by the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage and the Arab Democracy Foundation (ADF) , the first Doha Freedom and Creativity Festival was held from April 9 to 12 2009.
The main objective of the festival is to create a free space for artists to express themselves, not only to invite famous artists, but also to showcase the young and new talents in the Arab world, in different venues to reach out to the large public.
The festival was inaugurated on April 9 at the National Theatre with two music shows. The first was a performance by al Qanawa, a folkloric gulf group and the second is Syrian singer Samih Shuqair and his band. A painting and photography exhibition of artists from Syria, Algeria, Lebanon and Qatar was also organized.
Three seminars were held on the sidelines of the festival in Grand Regency hotel. The seminars focused on Arab women’s creativity and requirements of freedom of expression. Renowned poets, writers and filmmakers addressed the seminars.
Qatari students, aged between 14 and 18, had the opportunity to show their talents in caricature and wall drawings at the two workshops at the Youth Creativity Centre.
Tribeca Film Festival
Qatar Museums Authority presents Tribeca Film Festival Doha (TFF Doha); a partnership designed to bring the quality, diversity and community spirit of the Tribeca Film Festival to Doha.
Over the long-term, TFF Doha will serve to foster and inspire new filmmakers and provide a platform for future year-round film activities and investment in Qatar.
Dates: November 10-14, 2009
Location: Doha, Qatar
Venues: Museum of Islamic Art and movie theatres around Doha
The Film Program
The feature film program will be comprised of approximately 40 films and be divided into Competitive and Non-Competitive Sections. The films will be competing for awards and prizes.
The Festival will also include a selection of short films.
Narrative and documentary films in the World Narrative and World Documentary categories respectively will be awarded prizes by a jury including Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Actor and Best Actress.
A showcase of films from the Middle East and around the world will complete the Festival program.
Middle Eastern Showcase
A section of films from the Middle East. This section will honor a winner through an Audience Award, voted on by the Festival’s attendees.
Major studio premieres will comprise opening night and closing night. These films will be geared to the greater Qatari community.
Family Festival/International Showcase
A collection of films from around the world – some targeted to families and other towards the general film-going audience.
The Doha Conversations
The Tribeca Film Festival Doha will create once in a lifetime opportunities for thought-provoking discussions between icons of world culture and the Festival’s local and global audience.
The Family & Sports Festival
The Film Festival will host a Family and Sports Festival at Al Bidda Park with family entertainment, sports demonstrations and interactive games.
Al Jazeera Documentary Film Festival
The Documentary Film Festival, occurring annually in April, is open to all TV channels, production companies, independent filmmakers, and social and media organisations.
Participants are charged with promoting better cooperation and understanding among people via a cultural dialogue, garnering a remarkable number of entries from both Arab and non-Arab countries. Two awards, the Al Jazeera Golden Award and the Jury’s Award, are given in each category: Long, Medium and Short. Additionally, two special awards, across each category, for subject matters relating to Palestinian Affairs and Children and Family Matters are also bestowed. The 15 member jury committee of different nationalities disposes of an outstanding expertise.
French Films Festival
Annual festival showcasing 5 independent films, dealing with specific aspects of French and French-speaking identity. Discussions take place with the film directors after the screening.
With subtitles in Arabic and English.