Al-Mubarakiya “Durra Al-Kuwait” shook off the traces of the fire that nearly emptied and devastated the heritage, and regained consciousness after the smoke that muffled its breath, and regained a luster that radiates history, originality and nobility.
The fire that raged the very heart of Mubarakiya and even extended to more than one market, did not want the flames to linget further, in response to the supplication of all Kuwait, “O fire, be cool and peaceful,” and out of respect for the heartbreak of the people of Kuwait who felt that the heartbeat had almost stopped, especially since Kuwaitis consider Mubarakiya the lung of pleasure, shopping and rumination of memories, and every Kuwaiti has a story to tell about Mubarakiya, its markets, cafes and restaurants.
Al Mubarakiya is a home to historical places, such as the Mubarak Kiosk and the Mubarakiya School, and markets such as the gold market, the sweets, the bashout, the money exchanges, the house for Ghatra, the Aql, the tasbeeh, the fish, the meat, the vegetables, souk harem, the dates all under one roof in addition to the Ruwaih library, Qaisariya bin Rashdan, the famous Bonachi coffee, and the well-known Daluwa coffee.
What distinguishes the Mubarakiya market is its old urban form with some necessary renovations that make the market more attractive to visitors and suitable for the modern era. The historical dimension of the market gives heritage factors that make it a popular destination for heritage lovers. This is a look at what is contained in the Mubarakiya heritage area.
Mubarak booth … The seat of government
In the heart of Mubarakiya, you see the Mubarak booth, which was built by Sheikh Mubarak Al-Kabeer, the seventh ruler of the State of Kuwait 130 years ago, and which is considered the basic building block for establishing the rules of modern Kuwait, to discuss the affairs of the country, where problems and obstacles facing the country were looked into and the ruler found solutions to them, so the booth served as a shura council.
In a Qusai corner in the region, the Mubarakiya School was located, as Kuwait was the first in the region to establish the first regular school in the region, based on a curricula and an educational plan implemented by the teaching staff, what was happening in the primitive schools where schooling was limited to teaching the basics of reading and arithmetic.
The Mubarakiya School was established in December 1911, and as a result, the school administration decided to form a financial council, which was concerned with managing financial matters and spending to ensure the smooth running of the education process, especially since the school relied on collecting donations to buy the requirements of the modern educational institution.
Abu Nashi Café
Abu Nashi Café was the first and oldest café in the State of Kuwait, and one of the landmarks associated with a long history teeming with events and political developments. The café was built during the reign of Sheikh Abdullah bin Sabah I, who took power in 1762. The café was an important aspect of the social and economic activity of the Kuwaitis in the past, as it was frequented by merchants, snorkelers, and the people to exchange conversations, conduct their commercial transactions such as buying and selling, and hosting Arab Gulf merchants for the purpose of trade exchange and the conclusion of various deals.
The Bonachi Café was located at the entrance to Al-Manakh Square, then moved to the indoor market, and after the café was demolished, it moved to the Safat Square.
Upon renovating the current indoor market, the government gave this café to the Bonachi family to preserve the ancient Kuwaiti heritage and memories. The café remains engraved in the conscience of Kuwaitis, expressing moments of nostalgia, and bearing witness to the memories of the years.
Caesarea Ibn Rushdan … the headquarters of Al-Bazzazin
Hundred years ago, the Caesarea of Ibn Rushdan was built in Mubarakiya to house the bazaars (cloth sellers) who preferred to move from their old headquarters in the Khalil al-Qattan market, to the merchants market, wishing to take advantage of the tempting offer presented to them by the owner of the market, the late Rashid bin Rashid al-Azmi, one of the largest real estate merchants and ship owners at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Ibn Rushdan enticed the cloth merchants to move to the merchants market, exempting from paying rent for a whole year, and after the end of the year, the monthly rent was one rupee per shop, and thus Ibn Rushdan market flourished, and it became one of the important markets in Kuwait for its distinguished location and low rents.
Al-Dalloah Café enjoys a strategic location, as it is located in the heart of Mubarakiya, and is famous for its heritage and content, especially as it bears an ancient heritage. The history of its establishment dates back to more than a hundred years and the fragrance of history oozes from the sides of this ancient café.
The Harem Market … Destination for women
The harem market, which was not covered by fire, gained great fame, as it was the first of its kind in the Arab Gulf region, in which women displayed their merchandise to customers and carried out buying and selling operations.
Despite the scarcity of places for female sellers at that time, that is, more than 90 years ago, the fame of this market spread far and wide and attracted women looking for their needs, and the market in general provided other goods needed by all family members. The market gained its name because all-women sales people who looked for a source of livelihood during hard times and destitution.
The fish market
The Kuwaitis have loved the sea since time immemorial. They looked at the sea for a livelihood and secure livelihood, armed with a steel determination and an iron will they did not look back in the face of harsh and difficult conditions.
They found in the depths of the sea the latent pearl that brought wealth, delicious food that contributed to undermining the hardship and narrowness of life.
It is obvious that fish has a popular market especially since fish is an essential ingredient on the table of the ancient Kuwaitis, and the first sailors and fishermen experienced the sea and realized its bounties, so they enjoyed abundant goodness that brought them a lot of money. The strength of the relationship of the first Kuwaitis was the sea.
Al-Attarin Market … Kuwait Hospital
More than 120 years ago, there were no doctors and pharmacies in Kuwait. Rather, people depended on Al-Attar – the owner of the perfumery shop – in treating them from diseases or ailments with herbs or the like.
Al-Attar was known by a local nickname in Kuwait, “Al-Hawaj,” who worked as a perfumer and had complete knowledge of medicinal plants and herbs. The varieties of herbs and plants in the perfumery shops varied and included everything that came to mind.
Money Exchange market … A world trade center
The money market was not far from the different shops in terms of location, there is a great link between the money exchange market and other financial transactions and the shops surrounding it, and the geographical proximity paved the way for Kuwait to be an important commercial center, and the presence of the money changers in this location facilitates the customers who want to exchange money.
The prosperity of the exchange shops means the market boom, or in other words the prosperity of the economy. It is a sequential chain. If a defect occurs in one of its links, the other links will inevitably be affected.
The current form of money exchange was not the one previously approved. The money changer used to rent a small shop sitting on the ground in the middle of the shop and put in front of him a wooden box less than a meter long containing the coins he needed.
The box also had a glass cover with a wooden frame to reveal the currencies it contains. The teller bought different currencies from merchants who come to Kuwait from countries to buy their needs from them.
Dates Market … a commodity for everyone
prices according to the types that it provided, and in Mubarakiya there was another market located near the pigeon market and it was dedicated to selling dates to people with low income or to ship captains, for the purpose of providing it as food for sailors during diving, while the best quality types were found in the market near Sikkat Al Ateeqi, which was the largest in terms of number of shops and the most popular at that time.
Al-Bashout Market … sign of elegance
It dates back to the early thirties of the last century, when it moved from the merchants market to its current location on the eastern side of Al-Gharbally Market overlooking the Exchange Square, and extending to Al-Safat Square.
Despite the development that occurred in men’s fashion and clothing in Kuwait, the Bisht retained its social status, prestige and loftiness, and remained a symbol of elegance, a witness to reverence, and an emblem of the reverence of its wearer.
Notables and the elite in the past preferred to wear the bisht at most times and on various occasions, but it was finally worn on official occasions and weddings.
The bisht industry was associated with a number of Kuwaiti families who traded and sold it and considered it a heritage and an ancient profession.
One of the most prominent types of bisht that Kuwaitis prefer is the Najafi bisht, which is spun and woven by hand and is characterized by its light weight and thin thread. Also, the types of bisht are light and medium like the London, then the Japanese Najafi bisht, and the most preferred color is black and cream color.