The historic souq in Kuwait City, which was the commercial hub before the country discovered oil, is still very much alive and thriving. New structures and smaller markets have been constructed around the original market square.
Simply strolling about and taking in the sights, sounds, and fragrant spices is a treat for the senses. Olives, dates, and oxtails are just some of the items that shoppers bargain over at Souk Al Mubarakiya.
Bedouin women sell kohl (black eyeliner), pumice stones, and costumes adorned with gold thread in the colors of the Kuwaiti flag as they sit cross-legged on velvet couches in an area called Souq Al Hareem.
After passing through the covered passageway, you’ll reach the open lanes of the souq, which are loaded with woolen vests and Korean blankets. Souq Mubarakiya is surrounded by stores selling bridal gold and local pearls, while the adjoining Souq Ad Dahab Al Markazi is the city’s primary gold market.
The Souk Al-Mubarakiya in Kuwait is a popular marketplace. Arab open-air markets, or souks, are a staple of Arab culture. They served as venues not just for commercial transactions but also for celebrations and other forms of community gatherings.
The Souk Al-Mubarakiya is an antiques and collectibles market. Everything about the market, from the furnishings to the way transactions are handled, feels a bit dated. Vegetables, fruits, fish, and other consumables, together with normal home products, clothing, etc., can be found alongside antiques.
Souk Al-Hareem, the Persian Carpet Souk, and the Gold Souk are among the popular destinations in the nation’s capital.
The Souk Al-Mubarakiya in Kuwait City is very possibly the country’s oldest Souk. The Souk, located at the intersection of Abdullah Al-Mubarak, Abdullah Al-Salem, and Palestine Streets, is where much of Kuwait’s commerce took place before the discovery of oil.
The shops sell a wide variety of items, from clothing and jewelry to spices and pharmacy items, all of which are representative of the country’s rich cultural history.
Souk Al-Mubarakiya is the spot to go shopping if you enjoy bargaining. Shop for Persian rugs, carpets, and traditional Arabic clothing at these vendors. Perfumes, handcrafted local crafts, scarves, clothing, jewelry, and more may all be found at the shops if you’re seeking for souvenirs to bring back home.
In addition to the eye-catching gold and silver, you’ll also discover stores selling fragrant perfumes, exotic spices, and delicious dates.
Maintain firmness without rudeness while bargaining over the price of a thing. You can easily check the pricing and quality of an item at numerous stores that sell the same thing. Lastly, don’t leave without sampling some authentic Arabic coffee.
Souk Al Mubarakiya throughout history
Wandering the marketplaces and taking in all the sights, sounds, and scents will take you back in time to the simpler days of old Kuwait. Over two hundred years ago, merchants in the Al-Mubarakiya neighborhood built a marketplace to sell and display their goods to the public without the pressures of direct commerce.
The marketplace quickly established itself as a social and commercial center, serving the needs of those who traveled there for everything from weekly food shopping to social gatherings.
At the center of it, all was Sheikh Mubarak Al Kabeer’s Kiosk, a modest garden pavilion where the public could address their leader directly. The Founding Fathers’ commune quickly followed with the establishment of a diwaniya (a reception hall for business conversations).
The elders of the country continue to gather at the diwaniya to debate topics such as social policy and upcoming elections.
After suffering severe damage during the 1990 Iraqi invasion, the Souk underwent extensive reconstruction. While preserving the historic charm of the marketplace, the restorations add a touch of modernity in the form of LED light displays and kid-friendly play spaces.
Because of Kuwait’s scorching summers, the Souk was designed and constructed with lots of shady spots for shoppers.
SOMU Square at Souk Al Mubarakiya
Souk Al-Mubarakiya’s newly redeveloped ‘old’ sector is called South Mubarakiya (SOMU), and it is centered on the recently redesigned SOMU Square (also known as Thouq Square).
The concept of Ahmad Al-Ghanim and Bader Al Hejailan to give fresh life to the region behind the Al Fares Mosque led to the creation of SOMU, which was built from the rubble and closed stores of the previous neighborhood.
Their shared values are reflected in the concept shop Thouq, which serves as a platform for local and regional artists by constantly rotating displays of their work and introducing new products and ideas to the market every week.
Contrary to popular belief, Al-Mubarakiya is today a thriving center for the creative industries. The largest mural in the Gulf can be seen right in the middle of SOMU, and you shouldn’t miss it. The artwork, an homage to Kuwait created by the Thouq team, spans two connecting walls.
Dine at some of the top restaurants and cafes in Thouq. Most have both indoor and outdoor dining, so you may enjoy the establishment regardless of the weather or time of year.
- What is the address of Souk Al Mubarakiya?
- المباركية شارع سوق الغربللي خلف ماكدونالدز، مدينة الكويت،, Kuwait City, Kuwait.
- What are the opening hours of Souk Al Mubarakiya?
- Closed from Friday to Tuesday.
- Wednesdays from 3 AM to 5 PM and 6 PM to 12 AM.
- Thursdays from 12 AM to 10 PM.