Petition to Save Old Salmiya as a Heritage Site

Before there was a Souq Sharq, before there was a Marina Mall, before the Avenues and 360, there was Salmiya Highstreet.

let any who grew up in Kuwait testify, Salmiya Highstreet, the stretch of Salmiya from the first (or last depending on where you are coming from) traffic signal on the 4th Ring Road up to the right side across from Marina Mall, was THE place to be on weekends to meet friends, play pool, hang out and generally have a great time.

Even the area up to Fanar, before its extensions, and beyond, were definitely great spots.

Before there was Dunkin’ Donuts, there was a music shop, with a floor dedicated to music memorabilia; t-shirts, wallets, bags, accessories etc.

Before there was Tche-Tche, there was Aladdin, around the corner from Max.

Before there was The Great Steak, there was A&Ws with their Root Beer, chilli-cheese fries and Big Papa Triple Burger.

Many a weekend was spent, and many a KD as well, at the pool hall of Monte Carlo, and then came Joker.

I remember buying Sega games from a shop roughly where Fareej Suwaileh would be. I remember how they dug up that entire area to create that intersection near Max. That was the golden age of Salmiya.

Before that ugly monstrocity known as MRG came to be, there was a very quaint, elegant bookshop, from which I brought many a comic book, and many a valentines day card.

Across from it, there once stood Tikka, and Hardees. Baskin Robbins was not far behind, and the two toy shops inbetween, like Waleed, before there was a Toys “R” Us, were where I bought many a birthday gift, for school friends as well as myself.

The ambience and atmosphere of Salmiya Highstreet are reminiscent of the days of old, the low buildings, the wide shops, the thick brick walls; the aesthetic feel makes one believe they are walking in the past. The new addition of MRG destroys that ambience, with its flashing neon sign reminiscent of a casino for compulsive gamblers.

Salmiya Highstreet should be preserved as is, what was done before to drive out shop owners, the racketeering-like antics of thugs demolishing and rebuilding walls, driving up the noise pollution and the sound of drills to attempt to drive out shop owners, should not only have been fined, it should have been outlawed. Old Salmiya as it is colloquially called, should remain as is.

Someone, somewhere, must have the ability to preserve Salmiya Highstreet, and prevent its impending destruction.

More care has to be given to these cultural landmarks of Kuwait, for they are pieces of living history.

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August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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