Mubarakiya market razed by fire nearly emptied it of its heritage

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… Market that provided all needs under one roof

KUWAIT CITY, April 7: The Al- Mubarakiya ‘Durra Al-Kuwait’ market devastated by fire nearly emptied it of its heritage and left behind a trail of burnt out debris and that awakened the consciousness of the old and young after the smoke muffl ed the breath — a luster that radiates history, originality and nobility, reports Al-Rai daily. The fire that raged the very heart of Mubarakiya and extended to nearby shops, did not want the flames to linger further, in response to the supplication of all Kuwait, “O fire, be cool and peaceful,” and out of respect for the heartbreak of the people of Kuwait who felt they missed a heartbeat, especially since Kuwaitis consider Mubarakiya the meeting place for pleasure, shopping and rumination of memories, and every Kuwaiti has a story to tell about Mubarakiya, its markets, cafés and restaurants. Al Mubarakiya a home to historical places, such as the Mubarak Kiosk and the Mubarakiya School, and markets such as the gold market, the sweets, the bashout, the money exchanges, the house for ghatra, the aql, the tasbeeh, the fish, the meat, the vegetables, souk harem, the dates all under one roof in addition to the Ruwaih library, Qaisariya bin Rashdan, the famous Bonachi coffee, and the Daluwa coffee.

Above: Some photos of Mubarakiya market after the fire incident

What distinguishes the Mubarakiya market is its old rustic look with renovation being done here and there to make the market more attractive to visitors and suitable for the modern era. The historical dimension of the market gives heritage factors that make it a popular destination for heritage lovers. This is a look at what is contained in the Mubarakiya heritage area. In the heart of Mubarakiya, you see the Mubarak booth, which was built by Sheikh Mubarak Al-Kabeer, the seventh ruler of the State of Kuwait 130 years ago, and which is considered the basic building block for establishing the rules of modern Kuwait, to discuss the affairs of the country, where problems and obstacles facing the country were looked into and the ruler found solutions to them, so the booth served as a shura council.

Established In a Qusai corner in the region, the Mubarakiya School established in December 1911 was located, as Kuwait was the first in the region to establish the first regular school in the region, based on a curricula and an educational plan implemented by the teaching staff, what was happening in the primitive schools where schooling was limited to teaching the basics of reading and arithmetic. Abu Nashi Café was the first and oldest café in the State of Kuwait, and one of the landmarks associated with a long history teeming with events and political developments.

The café was built during the reign of Sheikh Abdullah bin Sabah I, who took power in 1762. The Bonachi Café was located at the entrance to Al-Manakh Square, then moved to the indoor market, and after the café was demolished, it moved to the Safat Square. Hundred years ago, the Caesarea of Ibn Rushdan was built in Mubarakiya to house the bazaars (cloth sellers) who preferred to move from their old headquarters in the Khalil al- Qattan market, to the merchants market, wishing to take advantage of the tempting offer presented to them by the owner of the market, the late Rashid bin Rashid al-Azmi, one of the largest real estate merchants and ship owners at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Al-Dalloah Café enjoyed a strategic location, as it is located in the heart of Mubarakiya, and is famous for its heritage and content, especially as it bears an ancient heritage. The history of its establishment dates back to more than a hundred years and the fragrance of history oozes from the sides of this ancient café. The Harem Market which was not covered by fire, gained great fame, as it was the first of its kind in the Arab Gulf region, in which women displayed their merchandise to customers and carried out buying and selling operations.

It is obvious that fish has a popular market especially since fish is an essential ingredient on the table of the ancient Kuwaitis, and the first sailors and fishermen experienced the sea and realized its bounties, so they enjoyed abundant goodness that brought them a lot of money. The strength of the relationship of the first Kuwaitis was the sea. This market is right in the heart of Mubarakiya. Al-Attarin Market was established more than 120 years ago, there were no doctors and pharmacies in Kuwait. Rather, people depended on Al-Attar – the owner of the perfumery shop – in treating them from diseases or ailments with herbs or the like. Al-Attar was known by a local nickname in Kuwait, “Al-Hawaj,” who worked as a perfumer and had complete knowledge of medicinal plants and herbs. The varieties of herbs and plants in the perfumery shops varied and included everything that came to mind.

The money exchange market was not far from the different shops in terms of location, there is a great link between the money exchange market and other financial transactions and the shops surrounding it, and the geographical proximity paved the way for Kuwait to be an important commercial center, and the presence of the money changers in this location facilitates the customers who want to exchange money. Dates Market was the most popular and the price varied according to the types that it provided.

In Mubarakiya there was another market located near the pigeon market and it was dedicated to selling dates to people with low income or to ship captains, for the purpose of providing it as food for sailors during diving, while the best quality types were found in the market near Sikkat Al Ateeqi, which was the largest in terms of number of shops and the most popular at that time.

Al-Bashout Market dates back to the early thirties of the last century, when it moved from the merchants market to its current location on the eastern side of Al-Gharbally Market overlooking the Exchange Square, and extending to Al-Safat Square. Despite the development that occurred in men’s fashion and clothing in Kuwait, the Bisht retained its social status, prestige and loftiness, and remained a symbol of elegance, a witness to reverence, and an emblem of the reverence of its wearer.

One of the most prominent types of bisht that Kuwaitis prefer is the Najafibisht, which is spun and woven by hand and is characterized by its light weight and thin thread. Also, the types of bisht are light and medium like the London, then the Japanese Najafibisht, and the most preferred color is black and cream color.

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