Sites Along Gulf Road (1)

According to this Kuwait Times article, “Al-Seif Street (now known as Gulf Road) was considered the most important and longest street in old Kuwait. It ran from Sharq to Qibla and included many famous landmarks and commercial and occupational centers that were the main backbone of the country’s economy and a source of livelihood in the past.” Here are some of the sites along it you can see today:

  1. Shuwaikh Beach: a popular beach front in Kuwait and a good starting point for walking
  2. Al Salam Palace: in May of 1969, Nat Geo had an article on Kuwait. They reported that Al Salam Palace was, “Kuwait’s official guesthouse. Planned as the private pleasure dome of a royal sheikh… Peace Palace was purchased by the government $8,400,000. It witnesses glittering receptions held by and for the Emir.” Like many other buildings, the palace suffered severe destruction during the invasion. It was abandoned for many years, but was recently renovated.
  3. Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Cultural Center: opened in 2016, it is now one of Kuwait’s most distinguishable landmarks.
  4. Al Maqsab Gate: one of Kuwait’s old city gates. There is a miniature park at Shaheed that features the gate
  5. Holy Family Cathedral: this Catholic Church was built in 1966
  6. Behbehani House Complex: adjacent to the church, I’ve posted about this interesting complex here.
  7. American Missionary Hospital: according to a paper by Khaled Albateni, the Arabian Mission was founded in 1890 to evangelize in the Middle East. In Kuwait, they “used medical services as their main missionary method in Kuwait.” They built this hospital in 1914, which may be on the site of the former “kut” from which the name “Kuwait” is derived.
  8. National Evangelical Church: behind the old American Missionary Hospital (now a museum) is a church where Father Emmanuel Benjamin Jacob Gharib serves. He is, according to this article, the first native priest of the Gulf.
  9. Al Bahhar Entertainment Historical Village: according to Farah al Nakib in her work Kuwait transformed, this site was opened in 1986 to commemorate Kuwait Town’s maritime heritage. There is a library inside where you can find old books about Kuwait. According to Acquiring Modernity it was, “constructed in an attempt to build a bustling sea-side commercial experience filled with imported chains of shops and restaurants. It took the form of buildings of old Kuwait, yet the area it demolished was one of the last remaining clusters of old mudbrick buildings.”
  10. As Sayer Historical Mosque: one of the many historical mosques in Kuwait, it was built in 1919

The photographs below show the Al Salam Palace under construction in the early 60s as well as the are`a around the Holy Family Cathedral and come from the flickr of Brett Jordan and Verity Cridland. The last photo comes from this instagram account.


  1. […] Naif Palace is located within Jibla, which Roberto Fabbri writes about in his chapter “Fragmentarium” from the recent publication Urban Modernity in the Contemporary Gulf. Fabbri writes that, “Jibla… once a traditional part of the pre-oil town, its firjan (neighborhoods) accommodated merchant family houses and their maritime trades. As part of the post-oil urban development, the 1951 master plan designated Jahra Road (now called Fahad Al Salem) and Naif Avenue (now called Abdullah Al Salem), Jibla’s main axes, to become its first modern alleys. They pointed to Safat Square, the main public space, adjacent to the first municipal park.  On Jahra Road, every merchant family in Kuwait competed to acquire spots to flaunt their businesses, and consequently, land speculation and highly inflated costs of expropriation fueled the credible myth of Jahra as the most expensive mile on the planet. For a decade, it became Kuwait’s badge of modernity, depicted in all the postcards, official publications, and international magazines illustration Kuwait’s progress.” I’ve previously posted older photographs of Fahad Al Salem street during its heyday here. Fabbri writes about some of the buildings in Jibla where “Kuwait’s modernity has tried to come to terms with tradition,” including the Behbehani Compound, the American Cultural Center, and Youm-al-Bahar. […]


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