And why it's worth a visit
5 November 2019| Last updated on 5 November 2019
Everything you need to know about the Falcon Souq in Qatar...
In Qatar, falconry is followed with a fervour approaching football fandom. Falconry is more than just a popular pastime in Qatar – it’s a national obsession.
The Falcon Souq is a fortress-like arcade adjoining Souq Waqif. It is well worth a visit to witness the dedication to this magnificent bird of prey.
In this unique cluster of storefronts are shops specializing in different breeds of falcons. At any given time there can be up to 30 falcons in each shop, sitting hooded and calmly on their perches. While some of the shop owners may have limited English, visitors are welcome to view the falcons, take photos and enter into discussions with the various patrons.
Prospective buyers flit about the forecourt, assessing the inventory for speed, efficiency, and value for money. Prices range from QAR 100,000 / USD $26,000 to a staggering QAR 500,000 / USD $135,000 or more! Not only are falcons for sale, but the equipment needed to care for one, or train them for hunting is also available.
While falcons are no longer needed to hunt to supply dinner, falcons remain a cherished part of Qatari society, as well as a time-honoured means of parents teaching children lessons of patience, courage, and self-discipline.
In addition to the individual shops, there is the Souq Waqif Falcon Hospital. Currently, the hospital provides clinical and laboratory services to approximately 130-150 falcons per day during the peak season and up to 50 falcons a day during the molting season.
In a country obsessed with modern sports, traditional falconry still rules the skies of Qatar.
Falcon Souq is located next to Souq Al Waqif in Doha. Open from 7 am until 6 pm daily, except Fridays and is free to enter.