Interesting Sites in Sharq (2)

In Kuwait Transformed, Farah Al Nakib writes that Kuwait town, “consisted of two main sea-facing quarters: Jibla/Qibla to the west and Sharq to the east, al-Wasat in the middle. Jibla was hub of urban oligarchy. The residents of Sharq were more directly dependent on the sea for their livelihood and where most pearl merchants lived… whereas Jibla was the mercantile quarter, Sharq was the maritime quarter. Houses in pre-oil town were not used as projections of social status or as makers of ethnic identity… most looked the same from the outside. Sharq absorbed most of the newcomers to the town, became the largest and most culturally heterogenous district.” In the paper Cartographic Analysis of Urban Expansion in Kuwait, Mohamed Aziz and Nayef Alghais note that, “Kuwait is the only Arabian city that built three walls as a result of its urban expansion, which showed the intention of integrating the newcomers.”

Here are some interesting sites in Sharq found within walking distance of each other:

  • Bait Sharq: an old home currently under renovation
  • House of Amin: next to Oula gas station on Ahmad al Jaber street, according to this post it is, “the House of Amin, a famous estate… it is now abandoned because three families proclaim ownership and the case has remained open for years due to its unique complexity. The rooftops are deteriorating but the house, built of concrete instead of traditional mud-bricks, still stands as a prominent symbol of Kuwaiti heritage and innovation.”
  • Bait Al Ghanim: a house built in the early 20th century, as of 2022 under renovation
  • Sheikh Khazal Palace: built in the early 20th century, it served as the Kuwait National Museum for a time. It suffered damage during the invasion and has continued to deteriorate since
  • Qaser Fahad Al Salem: another historic abandoned home, you can see photographs of the interior here and here
  • Bait Alcedra: a shop located within an old home from the 1920s
  • Bouresli Mosque: in his work Shipmasters of Kuwait, Khaled Bourisly explains that private boat jetties are known as a “nig’ah” and that the historic Bourisly nig’ah was located where Souq Sharq is presently. Across the street is the Bourisly mosque, built in 1916. The historic Al Mannai mosque is nearby
  • Souq Sharq: completed in 1998
  • Al-Sharqiya School: opened in 1943, Khaled Bourisly attended this school after moving from the Muthana School. The Museum of Modern Art is located within the old AlSharqiya School for Girls
  • Maritime Museum, Modern Art Museum, Bait Ghaith: two great museums side by side, nearby is Bait Ghaith–a pre-oil home in what is now a largely vacant lot

The black and white photo above shows Sharq before and after, “it’s taken from a recent study by architect Khalid Alsafi highlighting the constant aggressive destruction of Kuwait’s heritage and cultural areas.” In the circles you can see where the Museum of Modern Art and Maritime Museum areas, which are both adjacent to a cemetery.

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