By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: The Minister of Municipal Affairs Dr Rana Al-Faris gave orders to form a consultative committee to follow up on the work of restoring the areas damaged by the Mubarakiya Market fire. Historian and president of Kuwait Heritage Society, Fahad Al-Abduljalil told Kuwait Times that being part of the consultative committee will serve the purpose of the panel in preserving the heritage identity of Souq Mubarkiya. “The main goal is to preserve the spirit and heritage identity of Souq Mubarakiya,” he said. “Forming a consultative committee by the Minister of Municipal Affairs is a positive step that counts for the government. The formation is a wise decision of the political leadership.”
He noted that the incident needs specialists in all aspects, including the engineering, historical and architectural fields, pointing out that several places need the supervision of specialists to restore Mubarakiya Market to what it was before the fire as a Kuwaiti heritage landmark. “We will make sure to provide the basic construction materials from which the original Mubarakiya buildings were built and provide an integrated protection system to avoid future similar incidents. We will go on a field visit to conduct a comprehensive study,” Abduljalil said.
He affirmed that the committee would ensure the damaged parts of Souq Mubarakiya are reconstructed as they were, through the assistance of heritage specialists and architects, to restore the burned shops, noting that there is interest from officials to restore the burned part in the previous heritage form, and the committee will move according to controls and standards, as all categories of the Kuwaiti people are waiting for heritage Mubarkia Market to be back. “We will not tolerate any tampering with the heritage identity, and we will do our best to preserve the heritage identity of Mubarakiya in accordance with the required standards,” Abduljalil added.
The working group members are Chairperson of the Voluntary Work Center Sheikha Amthal Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kuwait Society for Heritage Fahad Al-Abduljalil, and Professor of Architecture at Kuwait University Dr Muhammad Al-Jassar, Vice-President of the Kuwait Heritage Society Engineer Ahmad Al-Adwani, consultant at the Kuwait Research and Studies Center Engineer Salah Al-Fadil, a researcher in Kuwaiti heritage, Saleh Al-Mathn, and Director of the Department of the Office of the Minister of Municipality Engineer Abdullah Akshan, reports a local Arabic daily.
Souq Al-Mubarakiya in Kuwait City is one of the oldest markets in Kuwait. The Souk was the center of trade prior to the discovery of oil, and it remained a charming place that preserves Kuwait’s past and reflect the country’s rich heritage and culture. It is considered one of the touristic and heritage destinations, until last April when a huge fire broke out, destroying at least 25 shops.