Naif Palace was built in 1919. Located near to Al Shamiya Gate on the Old City Wall, which ran along where Soor Street runs now, it was built in order to defend the city in case of attack. Since the 1950s, a cannon is shot off at Maghrib time during Ramadan, which visitors can go and watch.
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 illustrating 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. The older image of the fort below comes from Voice of the Oud by Jehan Rajab, the postcard dates to the 1950s.
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