KUWAIT: Souq Al-Mubarakiya in Kuwait City is one of the oldest markets in Kuwait. It was the center of trade before the discovery of oil. People from all around the world have Souq Mubarakiya among their top places to visit while in Kuwait, where people can spend hours strolling around and discovering heritage items such as antiques, perfumes like musk and oud, and traditional clothing. Kuwait Times toured Souq Mubarakiya and asked people and vendors how they will spend New Year’s Eve.
Abdullah Jarrar, marketing manager at a perfume shop, told Kuwait Times that the Mubarakiya atmosphere is different from other parts of Kuwait. “People from Kuwait and outside Kuwait always come to Mubarakiya to experience the traditional vibes of Kuwait. For tourists and newcomers who want to feel the real culture of Kuwait – Souk Mubarakiya is the place to be,” he said.
Hamada Sultan, a worker at a restaurant in Mubarakiya, noted that the place is always crowded during the New Year holiday, as families from Kuwait and Gulf countries come to enjoy a traditional meal with their families and friends and enjoy shopping later. “During the new year, the restaurants in Mubarkiya cannot stop working. Most people who come here are families. Last year, the police were out in force to avoid any kind of trouble in the market, as some young men annoy families with their bad behaviors and harassment,” he said.
Hamad Al-Qaseer, a 34-year-old visitor from Bahrain, said the Mubarakiya market is characterized by the heritage of the past and the modernity of the present. This is why Hamad and his family like to come to this market, where you can find everything. “This place is the best destination for everyone, as you can find a wide range of cheap items – cosmetics, clothes, snacks, toys, etc.
I love coming here in the winter. It’s a very nice old market; very well maintained as an old-style bazaar. You need hours to walk around. You can find many products that might not be available in big malls, along with many restaurants that serve seafood and other traditional dishes. In addition, there’s a children’s playground for our children to play. Also, they have moneychangers here, which are a better option for tourists,” said Qaseer.
Mustafa Aboryan, 26, said: “I am in Kuwait for over two years now, and some of the best and most reasonably-priced food is here in the souq. In the New Year, there will be decorations and celebrations that I enjoyed last year. This place has so much to offer – lots of traditional Kuwaiti dishes are available, along with traditional dresses, gold and much more. The best advice to give to visitors is to bargain, bargain and bargain, and get local currency to buy stuff.”
For Shinas Puthen, 29, Mubarakiya is the heartbeat of Kuwait. “The new year is the best day to celebrate in Mubarakiya,” he said. “I go there with my friends to enjoy Indian food and sightseeing. People should be aware that the area has some free museums – the Sheikh Mubarak kiosk and the first Islamic pharmacy in Kuwait – that are worth a visit.”
By Faten Omar