World Cup City Doha Qatar Falconry Falconry tradition sparks passion

Qatar has become a football flashpoint since it won the right to host the World Cup. But another sport is flying high in the historic center of the capital, Doha, as over a million foreign fans flock to the tiny emirate: falconry.

In the bustling Souq Waqif, a 100-year-old labyrinthine marketplace in Doha, shops selling spices and souvenirs give way to shops — and even a state-of-the-art hospital — filled with the famous birds that have long intrigued Bedouin tribes.

For centuries, Arabs across the region used falcons to hunt and recited poems extolling their virtues. Today, the birds of prey serve as powerful reminders of Qatar’s culture and tradition even as the skyscraper-studded city prepares for the world’s greatest sporting event.

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