Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Red Palace in Jahra: A Deserted Wonder of Our Past

The main courtyard in the middle of the Red Palace

An old, wooden doors of one of the rooms.

The sadu themed room

An old photograph of the Red Palace

A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided to make the best out of a slow Saturday afternoon by going to the Red Palace in Jahra. It was my first time to ever go into that area; I had a feeling that most of the houses we’d drive by would be on the substandard end and in general, that stood to be true. I did not, however, predict that we’d pass by rows and rows of makeshift houses made out of metal sheets and were more fit for a brood of chickens than actual people. Overall, I think I was more interested – in a concerned sort of way – about those sheds that had Kuwaiti flags fixed atop the one-layered homes than every room in the Red Palace.

My time at the Red Palace was both a wonderful and disappointing experience. We were greeted by a feeble looking Egyptian guard who silently led us through the themed rooms, different sized courtyards and two-story tall towers. The wonderful part was actually being there, trailing my fingers on the mud-brick walls as I climbed up and down the narrow staircases and in and out of the air-conditioned rooms that all had different aromas of the past. The disappointing bit was the tour itself; needless to say, my husband and I were the only ones there. Although the rooms we were escorted into were themed and had all sorts of interesting information and displays about, for instance, sadu making, nomadic life, weaponry, traditional dances and other historic and cultural details and information, each and every room had large, ant-like bugs that were either dead or slowly crawling about under our feet. One highlight was when we were standing on top of the highest tower. One would expect to take in a beautiful and endless desert scene that would provide a hint of how life was like living in a fort, but all we were faced with was the low-end neighborhood that stood just a couple of meters away from one of Kuwait’s historical landmarks.

It sure did not match my magical experience at Al Hambra Palace, but my visit to the Red Palace was worthwhile. Why? It’s simply part of my home’s history. Yet I do wish that whoever is presently in charge of preserving Kuwait’s historic sites would put in the effort to remember and honor every single moment that makes up the precious and irreplaceable past.

You can know more about the Red Palace’s history by reading this article from the Kuwait Times.

PS Speaking of the olden days, does anyone know where I could get the old Kuwaiti song “Silooga Bilooga”? I’ve been looking for it and cannot find it any anywhere.

at 8:30 AM 3 comments