The Kishk of Sheikh Mubarak

Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah was the seventh ruler of Kuwait. He ruled from 1896 to 1915, a period of incredible political, economic, and social transformation. In a biography about Mubarak, Souad M. Al-Sabah credits him with, “laying down the principles of sovereignty in the country.” He apparently toured Mubarakiya every afternoon in a black Victorian carriage drawn by two black horses. In the wake of a protection treaty signed with Great Britain in 1899, a British political agent named Lord Curzon visited Kuwait in November of 1903 and described Mubarak as, “by far the most masculine and vigorous personality whom I have encountered in the Gulf.” During his reign, Mubarak constructed “a building (popularly known as a kishk or kiosk in the town market) in the town market in which to hold his daily majlis with the townspeople. His office was located on the second floor, from which he observed and monitored all activity in the market below.” In her work Kuwait Transformed, Farah Al-Nakib tells us that this kishk was the only official state building in town prior to 1938, aside from an arsenal in a palace and a customs building. Today the structure still stands in the center of Mubarakiya and serves as a small museum. The photograph of Mubarak above was taken in 1910 by a British agent named Captain Shakespear. The book below was found on ebay, the model of the kiskh below can be found in the Bait al Othman museum in Hawally, the historical photographs were found on this instagram account and the KOC archives.


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