Review: Antique Shopping in Salmiya


Yesterday I was delighted to be surprised with a trip to an unknown basement area in a shopping complex in Salmiya, very close to the Sultan Center in an old corner building that, from all I can remember, hosts on the street level a store called "American Beauty Center".  We went to three different shops on the floor.  

In the first shop, we found a big collection of 8 tracks, vinyl records with some classic Western gems as well as many old Bollywood soundtracks and Hindi singers and hilariously 1950s-styled adventure books for boys.  The shop attendant told us most of his clientele consisted of Europeans, Kuwaitis that have lived abroad and returned and some members of the Royal family.  

The second store had a collection of photography, an edition of one of the first digital watches ever made in 1970 for sale, pins from the first Gulf War, and old Arabic beauty magazines from the 1970s, among other things.  

The last shop was probably the most unexpected surprise: a collection of old gold coins, currencies from around the world, and old Soviet military periphanalia.  I have never met a Kuwaiti so passionate about something so bizarre.  The owner of the shop is priceless and talks a mile a minute about all the things he collects.  

He told us with fantastic storytelling of the travails of transporting a cast iron relief of the profile of Lenin (about 2 feet tall and weighing much, much more than you would think for its size) from Europe to Kuwait.  Surprisingly enough, many of his most faithful clients are Americans.   

All these antique stores are located in the Al-Ozeina Building on Salem Al-Mubarak Street.  Definately worth the visit, as most of the owners are there because they are passionate about collecting old things, retaining Kuwait's history and they really know the merchandise they are selling like the back of their hand.  We even asked in the second store if the Kuwait team was present in the World Cup in Spain in 1982.  The owner was not only able to tell us, but he also pulled up an old magazine with vintage photos of the Kuwait National Team.  Pretty incredible.

1 Response on "Review: Antique Shopping in Salmiya"

  1. Andrew says:

    Great stores!

    I discovered them when I was in Kuwait last year. Couldn't find them on this visit until I read your blog. Thanks for helping me find them again!