Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Magnificent Kuwait Maritime Museum

After another lovely dinner at the wonderful 10.Oh.8, my husband and I felt that we needed a little walk. This was about two weeks ago, so the weather was not as pleasant as it is now. Plus, it was unusually muggy. Anyhow, we got in the car and drove around Sharq. We decided to see if there was a gallery in the Museum of Modern Art, but something far bigger caught our eye as we made our way down the sandy, bumpy road. There were two large dhows beside a small-ish building. It turned out to be the Maritime Museum, something I have never heard of before. We walked in and were stunned by the building’s modern interior. In general, the museum showcased every element of Kuwait’s past i.e. before the discovery of oil. The set up of the displayed pieces was very well done, with both Arabic and English explanations of each piece. Please excuse the quality of pictures; I took them using my BlackBerry that is great for typing and not much else.

This is the entrance. The large picture is of present-day Sharq

From right to left: A speedometer (used on ships), compass and lantern

A "shamshool" is a basic diving suit. It protected the diver mainly from jellyfish

The "rig'a" which is the ship/dhow's rudder

Pearls and a pearl necklace. The cluster of pearls on the right reminded me of the pearls my family and I collected while we hunted for oysters during low tide. Every pearl we collected was placed in a matchbox.

This is called a "warjiya." It is the most primitive type of boat, made of palm tree branches. The placard read that it is still used in Oman, and that people actually have motors on them, something that I found interesting

Pearl merchant's chest where he placed all the pearls he collected

The museum's interior space

A "manchab" is the vessel that the divers ate from. I realized that that's where the phrase "nchibaw elghada" (lit. they laid down the meal) came from

An hourglass, telescope and sextant

Right: "Fetam" is the nose clip that divers placed on their noses (helps in holding in their breath).
Left: "Khabt" was placed on divers' fingers to protect their fingertips from getting cut by the oysters they pick up

The only parts of the legendary Muhallab boom that survived the Iraqi invasion was its steering wheel and iron spikes. I took a picture of the placard (see below) if you want to read more about the Muhallab's history.

Click here for more information about the Kuwait Maritime Museum and how to get to it. Here's to the men and women of our past:


at 8:30 AM


  1. Blogger Mrs. Baker posted at 12:43 AM  
    Thank you my dearest Erzulie for this beautiful and beautifully written post. We can't wait to go to the Maritime museum. Guess who came running into the room as soon as I started playing the AMAZING bahri songs? He's been a HUGE fan of sea/seamen songs from various cultures since forever (loves Irish Sea Shanties the best as well as Khaleeji like these) He took the song files immediately from me before I even finished listening to the first. Gorgeous and moving music, thank you for spreading the bahri love.

    P.S. Ta3alay, your post reminded me of the time we went to see that sea band a few years ago! :**
  2. Blogger Erzulie posted at 12:39 PM  
    Mrs. Baker: You seriously have to go, I think you'd love it! And I got those tunes from my mom so, no surprise there :P How could I forget our amazing night at Dar Al Athar! I think it was Ferqat Ma3yuf. The energy was great, the music was excellent...zain ma nizalt ma3ahom 3alal masra7! :P

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