Sites Along Abdullah Al Salem

According to the chapter Framentarium by Robert Fabbri in the book “Urban Modernity in the Contemporary Gulf,” the 1951 Master Plan designated Fahad Al Salem (then called Jahra Road) and Abdullah al Salem (then called Naif Avenue) to become the first modern streets in Kuwait City. “They pointed to Safat Square, the main public space, adjacent to the first municipal park.” Soor (which means wall in Arabic) Street, “replaced the empty corridor left by the demolition of the old city wall… and delineated the inner urban core from the suburbs.”

The first master plan, “envisioned a broad avenue, with gardens and trees; lined with public buildings and forming an impressive approach to the town center, to properly define two arteries converging in the vibrant heart of the city centre. The documents show particular care in detailing Naif Avenue (Abdullah Al Salem)… intended to serve as the connector between the centre and the southern expansion. Jahra Road (Fahad Al Salem) headed towards the new deep-sea port… in the west district of Shuwaikh. It would have led to the new residential districts of Shamiya and Shuwaikh, where prominent members of ruling and merchant families received residential plots of lands. Thus, Jahra Road assumed a more commercial and retail-oriented role, while Naif was, from the beginning, more institutional. The plan allocated all the key institutions of the country in one stretch. Naif Avenue fell from one of the top six priorities of the 1953 budget plan to an unaccomplished project; the initial plan was reduced, fragmented. Nevertheless… several institutional buildings were erected here.” Here are some of the landmarks you can see along Abdullah Al Salem today:

  • Al Shamiya Gate: one of the gates of the old city wall that was torn down in 1957, nearby used to be an old ice skating rink, which was demolished in 2020
  • Ministry of Information: established in 1979
  • Naif Palace: an old fort built in the early 20th century
  • Municipal Complex: according to Kuwait Modern Architecture, it was completed in 1962 and was the temporary seat for the National Assembly that year. The facade is covered with “sea blue tiles and coloured smaller mosaics. Along with the Ministry of Guidance and Information, these buildings were the symbols of an up-and-coming new city.”
  • Liberation Tower: a telecommunications tower whose construction began before the invasion in August of 1990. During the occupation it was left unfinished, until it was completed 2 years after liberation, giving the tower its name.
  • Al Wataniya: one of the brutalist souqs of Kuwait
  • Municipal Museum: listed on google maps as the “municipal museum,” around the corner is another older building that as of 2021-22 is being renovated
  • Safat Square: as stated in the Fabbri chapter, both Fahad Al Salem and Abdullah Al Salem streets were designed to move towards Safat Square


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