Interesting Places Along Gulf Road (3)

  1. Old Central Bank of Kuwait: Kuwait’s Central Bank was established in 1959. According to the book Modern Architecture Kuwait, “after winning concept for the National Bank of Denmark in 1961, Arne Jacobsen was commissioned to design the Central Bank of Kuwait. Only nine years after its completion, the building was altered in order to get closer to what was the original intention of a more Islamic architectural structure.” The new central bank building, built in 2015, is also along Gulf Road and was designed by the same firm (HOK) that designed the famous Baku flame towers in Azerbaijan.
  2. Al Seif Palace: the Seif palace dates back to the late 19th century; before that, rulers may have lived in the old fort for which Kuwait is named. In her work Kuwait Transformed, Farah Nakib writes that, “local tradition claims that the Al Sabah had taken over the Bani Khalid fort when they came to power in 1752. In 1860, the residence of ruler Sabah al-Jaber was described as a ‘ruin,’ which may have been the Bani Khalid fort in disrepair. By the 1890s, the rulers’ residence was located next to the port in the center of the town’s coastline. Whether this structure was the old fort or a newer building is unknown. In 1904, Sheikh Mubarak imposed a 2 percent customs tax on mercantile imports… he used the newfound wealth to transform the rulers’ nondescript residence on the seafront, of al-Seif, into a fortified and luxurious palace complex, perhaps as a symbol of his growing prestige.” You can see a photograph of the palace from over 100 years ago from the book Kuwait by the First Photographers below.
  3. Grand Mosque: opened in 1986, you can read more about this impressive mosque on these posts by Maha Alessa.
  4. Al Babtain Library for Arabic Poetry: built in 2002, the foundation behind the library hosts festivals to, “shed light on Arab contemporary poets… in order to hand down to the next generations the love of poetry.”
  5. Al Shamlan Diwan: built over 100 years ago by a prominent ship merchant, it is one of the many clearly historic buildings along Gulf Road.
  6. Dickson House Museum: the home of British diplomat Violet Dickson for many years, it is now a great little museum! Across the street is the old dhow harbor.
  7. Thank you Allies Painting: painted after the war, you can see the painting in newer condition screen grabbed from a documentary from the early 90s.
  8. Maritime Museum: a great museum dealing with Kuwait’s seafaring past, nearby is the Museum of Modern Art, located in an old high school.

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