Interesting Sites in Sharq (1)

Sharq is one of the old neighborhoods of Kuwait City. Once the maritime quarter where pearl merchants lived, it was also the largest and most culturally heterogeneous district. Above are three wonderful paintings by Zahra Marwan. For the first she writes, “My dad worked at the Kuwait National Fish Company in Al-Sharq, where both sides of my family lived. Where the old Jewish cemetery used to be. Impressions of my grandmother.” The second is entitled “Mama’s youth in Old Sharq.” Zahra writes that it shows, “Mama catching locusts on the roof of their house in Old Sharq as a child, a former Kuwaiti delicacy. I’m really jealous of the fact that they used to sleep on the roof.” The third piece is entitled “When I felt shy as a child.” In the bottom left you can see the water towers. Here are some interesting sites in Sharq found within walking distance of each other:

  • Fisheries Building: According to Abdulraouf Murad, the Fisheries Building was built in 1979 on top of an old Jewish cemetery. The building is depicted in the first painting above.
  • Fatima Al Zahraa Mosque: a small mosque, next to it is an abandoned apartment building
  • Al Hamra Tower: the tallest building in Kuwait, completed in 2011
  • Behbehani Complex: a shopping complex with the name of one of Kuwait’s most influential families. According to this video, the Behbehani Group was founded in 1935, in 1948 the group established Kuwait’s first private radio station and in 1949 they introduced air conditioning to the country.
  • Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait: established in 1992, the Center for Research and Studies on Kuwait publish various books on Kuwait such as “The Origins of Kuwait” by B.J. Slot, which examines Kuwait’s history in the early modern period through maps made by foreigners. Inside the building there is a small library with books in English and Arabic
  • Nawarat Restaurant: across the street from the Baking Tray, I’ve been told that this place has the best falafel in Kuwait
  • Dasman Complex: within this old shopping mall, you can find the book store Bliss & Paper
  • Samarqand Restaurant: a great restaurant, I’ve previously posted about Samarqand here
  • Al-Awadhi Mosque: Bader Shaiji writes that Ahmad Al Jaber Street used to be called Dasman Street because of its proximity to the palace (here and here). In her work Abdullah Mubarak al-Sabah, Souad al-Sabah writes that, “the first paved street in the city, completed in 1945, was Dasman Street that ran from Dasman Palace to Safat Square.” You can see then & now pictures here.
  • Abraaj Al Awadi Towers: according to Essays, Arguments & Interviews on Modern Architecture Kuwait the towers were built in the 1980s, at time where there was “growing popularity for an ‘Islamic’ language, albeit in modernist form and construction material. Architecture included references to an Islamic heritage.”
  • Bisher Al-Roumi Mosque: historic mosque from 1916, nearby is the Shamlan Bin Ali bin Saif Al Roumi Mosque, built in 1893


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