A souq on the lines of the famous Souq Wakif near Doha’s Corniche is being developed at the Wakrah beach, which is already a popular spot for retreat for residents.
The serenity, historic value and culinary delights offered by Al Wakrah Souq make it a major attraction for residents and it is expected to become a huge tourist draw as the facility is fully developed.
Dozens of restaurants and coffee shops located along its Corniche are open since December last year, offering a variety of cuisines to visitors from across the country and the occasional foreign tourists.
“The menu at each restaurant is different here, they serve unique dishes to customers,” said Roy Mathew, manager of Arabic-Indian restaurant Barahat Al Wakrah. “Also, you will not see any fast-food chain here.”
He expressed optimism that once fully operational, the place would become a major tourist destination like Souq Waqif in Doha.
A new mini park and children’s playground is being constructed in the beach area to woo more families and visitors. A few dhows docked on the seaside add to the souq’s charm and beauty, portraying the significant role maritime activities have played in the history of Qatar and the region.
Visitors can take a walk or jog along the Corniche’s 3km stretch, which is well-lit in the evening.
The famed karak is also served at a shop known as Dareen Sweets. It sells a variety of homemade delicacies and sweets such as cupcakes and dates.
“People visit this place not only to dine but also to relax, hang out with friends and families, read books and take brief strolls at the souq,” said an employee of the shop.
There has been an increase in the number of visitors during the Eid holidays, as restaurants, cafes and shops remain open from the morning until midnight.
Many restaurants serve breakfast as early as 7am during the weekend, offering a selection of delicious dishes. In addition, a number of shops for abayas, clothes and personal accessories also opened recently.
According to a source, most of the shop owners are Qatari women who have been given an opportunity by the management to become successful entrepreneurs.
Perfumes, men’s and women’s clothes, sweet shops, handmade home decoration, personal accessories such as bags, handicrafts and traditional musical instruments will all be among the items that will be showcased in outlets to be opened soon.
Al Wakrah Souq also has a mosque and a huge parking area to accommodate the growing number of vehicles. Parking is free of charge as of now.
Source: Gulf Times article by Joey Aguilar