Located in Kuwait City, between Abdullah Al-Mubarak, Abdullah Al-Salem and Palestine Streets, Souq Al-Mubarakiya is one of the oldest souqs in Kuwait. It was also the center of trade prior to the discovery of oil.
The souq has an unmistakable charm which preserves Kuwait’s past beautifully to reflect the country’s rich heritage and culture. With old men and women manning their stalls, selling everything from herbs, spices, and apothecary goods, to clothes and accessories, there is nothing one cannot find at a reasonable rate. Explore the markets and enjoy the various sights, sounds and smells as you are transported into ancient Kuwait where life was simpler.
Over 200 years ago, a marketplace was created in the Al-Mubarakiya area as a platform for vendors to showcase their produce in a non-commercial way. The Souq – market – soon became a cultural hub, catering to the needs of every visitor, whether for the weekly grocery shopping or a simple outing with family or friends.
With Sheikh Mubarak Al Kabeer’s Kiosk (a small, separated garden pavilion open on some or all sides) in the center of it all, people were able to openly communicate their hopes and worries to their leader. Soon afterwards, a Diwaniya was born, dubbed as Diwaniyet Al Ra’eel Al Awal – The Elders and Founding Fathers’ Diwaniya or commune. The Diwaniya became – and still is – a place for the country’s elders to meet and discuss everything from social issues to the coming elections.
Following the Iraqi invasion of 1990, the infrastructure of the Souq was heavily damaged. Nonetheless, necessary renovations were made, retaining the traditional elements characteristic of the commercial trade center, whilst also injecting the marketplace with a hint of modernity in the form of light-displays and play areas for children.
Given the warm summers in Kuwait, the way in which the Souq was originally planned and built, served the purpose of providing visitors with plenty of shaded areas. While mornings at the Souq are as fun in their own way, it is when darkness falls that Mubarakiya comes to life.