Exploring Kuwait - Mirror House and Souk Mubarakiya

Like a scene from a movie.
Did you ever think you would have to move to a country that every one warned you about? Sometimes it happens - school, college, work, marriage - being some of the reasons on the top of my mind. But isn't it almost unlikely that you will actually start to love the place?
Hard to explain, but I am going to miss Kuwait so much. Like so much. But this post isn't a rant about my love for this desert country. I'm going to write about a few of my places I love about here.

The Mirror House

Lidia Al-Qattan came to Kuwait in the 1960's from Northern Italy and ever since, has had a beautiful relationship with the country. She married the late Kuwaiti artist Khalifa Al-Qattan - who is a pioneer of art in Kuwait. Lidia has created much of the work herself. She herself gives tours of the house which is a testimony of the work both the artists have created. When we arrived, we could see mirror work on the outside of the compound wall. We saw butterflies, stars and flowers - all in mirror. Now, the truth is that this place looks a million times better in real that in photos. We could not stop being in awe.


The first floor more or less reflects Lidia's work. Every inch of the wall is decorated in intricate mirror work and she has whales, sting rays, dolphins (this part was my favourite in all of the house) and lots of other designs in the different rooms. But before she starts the tour, she seats the visitors, offers some delicious tea (ginger and cinnamon both) and some home made cake and gives an introduction.

Every room has different themes and she describes it in great passion - mind you, she's 80 years old but you can mistake her for 60. The second floor more or less reflects her late husband's works - more of paintings. Some photos here:

She serves home made tea, before starting the home tour.

A stairway of mirrors.

The artist stays here, and this is her bathroom.

Love to the underwater animals :)

Pure inspiration - at 80.

A room full of books :) - can it get any better? Yes.

She made us play a small game - she gave us these small boards, see what happens below.

She asked us to throw the colourful boards on the decorated velcro, if it stayed, 20 points. Our team obviosuly won.

It was an honour to meet this artist :)

How can you not pose in front of this door ?


Souk Mubarakiya

Souk in Arabic means an open market. Souk Mubarakiya is one of the oldest markets in Kuwait - and has been around for almost 2 centuries (I learn new things everyday). The souk here was a center of trade before Kuwait discovered its oil. And then things changed, of course. The Souk Mubarakiya is a huge open market that has several sections, some air conditioned, but most are open. You get everything - from spices, dates (a hundred varieties - I am not kidding), fresh vegetables and fruits, abayas, souvenirs, shoes, kitchen stuff, cute kettles, woven baskets, dresses, shawls, the best rugs and carpets - everything you need and want.

As you walk around the souk, you can get so many beautiful fragrances. From food stalls, samosa stalls and the fascinating Arabic athar - traditional perfumes. The market gets very crowded towards the evenings - like a bustling bazaar.

This spot of the souk gives a great and vibrant flavour of the whole souk.

I could stare at the carpets all day, listening to stories how and where these carpets were made.

The colours.
You gotta buy your dates.

Stand still, let the world go by.

The first time I visited this market, I was cautious, too cautious actually. But I think with time, I started negotiating the prices, realaized that the vendors are from all over - Iran, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Yemen and Egypt to name a few, and started to treat this place as one of my favourites. Wherever I go, I try and visit the local market - the best way to understand the local culture. Ofcourse, you'll rarely see a Kuwaiti here - but it's still a great place to feel at home.

Quick note:
- There is a 3 KD (10 USD) entry fee for the Mirror House
- You get cheese/vegetable mini samosas for as less as 50 Fils (0.15 USD) in the Souk. Enjoy.
- We even took a video which my friend has put up on her YouTube channel. Go check it out here.

I will be putting one more blog before I leave this place (I'm sad thinking about it), but hope you guys liked this.

2 comments

  1. Wonderful post and beautiful photos. I love the artist's bathroom! Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

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