A Photographic Journey Inside Qasr Al Salam

Post by Mark

palace1

I love exploring abandoned buildings and from all the abandoned places in Kuwait the one I’ve always wanted to explore was Qasr Al Salam. Its the holy grail of abandoned buildings and the only one I could never get the guts to jump over the fence and explore (luckily I didn’t cuz it turns out there are two guards). After trying to get legal access to the site for what seems like forever, I finally got the approval thanks to Al-Diwan Al-Amiri.

Qasr Al Salam was a guest house that was built back in the 60s and hosted high-ranking visitors. Supposedly the first guest to stay at the palace was the Shah of Iran but I couldn’t find any source online to back that up. Actually, I could find very little information at all on the palace online. I know that Princess Diana and Prince Charles stayed at the palace back in 1989, but I can’t find the date it was built, who the architect was or even pictures. I’ve literally only found a handful of photos of the palace pre-1990 and nothing else. During the 1990 Gulf War the palace was destroyed and it never got restored and has remained abandoned for 24 years. That is until now.

Now some good news, unlike the rumors that have been circulating, the palace will NOT be getting demolished. Instead, the palace is going to be restored to its former glory and be turned into a museum. I saw 3D renderings of how the palace will look like when completed and it’s going to look very similar to the original with some minor facelifting here and there and addition of a new wing or two. The bad news is I can’t share the 3D renderings just yet since I’m still working on trying to convince them to allow me to post them here but right now I can’t.

construction

Whats even more interesting is whats going on right next door at the old flag square. The site is currently under major construction and I also got to see renderings of the project and I was just awestruck. There are four very angular buildings being built, an opera house, a music center, a theatre and a library. The buildings will be made out of titanium shells and will have no pillars at all on the inside. The landscaping around the project is also going to be nothing like anything in Kuwait as well and the best part is they’re expecting to have it all done and completed in just 18 months. Thats a timeframe fit for Dubai. I’m trying to get permission to share the drawings and renderings of this project as well and hopefully I will be able to by next week.

palace2

After getting briefed on the projects above I was taken to the Salam Palace to explore and take photos. The palace even though completely destroyed still had so much beauty left in it. The famous large chandelier that used to hang from the ceiling in the main hall had been dismantled and removed so I didn’t get to see it sadly. But a lot of the original mosaic, wallpaper, carpets and marble floor were still in place. One thing that struck me was the amount of colors used inside the palace and all very tastefully. There was a lot of colored glass everywhere and the mosaic in the main hall was a beautiful metallic purple color. There was a lot of carpeting everywhere but in places where the carpet was removed you could see the beautifully preserved marble floor underneath. It seems at one point in time the palace must have gotten a makeover and a lot of the marble floors were covered up in carpet. I took a lot of photos and I’ve shared them below. I honestly could easily have spent a day in there trying to document every single corner of the place but sadly I didn’t have the luxury of time on my side. I hope you enjoy the photos below and I’ll try my best to get permission to post the renderings next week.


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50 comments, add your own...


  1. M! says:

    Great pictures love it

  2. Kuwait says:

    Where is it Mark?

  3. Ahmed says:

    I remember seeing this building when driving from Sharq.

  4. Nasser says:

    Amazing! Thanks a lot for posting this Mark. Now we need to know how the palace in Mishref looks like from Inside, and maybe get the back story on whats the deal with it.

  5. me says:

    I had no idea it existed.. This thing looks huge, and the whole project seems very interesting.. An opera house in Kuwait would be amazing!!

  6. Abdul says:

    it was always my mission to get into that palace and go back in the 91 gulf war.i knew that they will not keep this place unguarded and wanted to make sure before i made an attempt.i am happy to hear that they are not demolishing it.

  7. proud Kuwaiti says:

    Qasr Al Salam (Peace Palace) was originally called Qasr Al Dhiyafa (Hospitality Palace). The reason it was changed to Qasr Al Salam was because Bayan Palace included a new State’s Guest House in 1986.

    According to Ali Ghloom, author of Kuwait in the Postal Cards, Qasr Al Salam was built in 1962 by the orders of the late Sheikh Saad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah. Ralph Hewin, author of A Golden Dream, noted that the construction of Al Salam Palace was £4.500.000.

    • Mark says:

      thanks for the info, I’m going to use your info and try to dig up more information. Currently also trying to get photos of the palace from the inside before the destruction. Hopefully I can get my hands on them.

  8. bazaar says:

    18 months?! hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha :)

  9. AlHindi says:

    I pass by it every Friday afternoon while going to pray, and always wanted to go inside, you did a good job Mark!!! thanks for the photos…

    Its in Shuwaikh residence Area on the gulf road just before KPC and next to Shaikh Saad’s first house…

  10. JS says:

    Thanks mark for sharing. I always wanted to know about this place.

  11. Shabana says:

    Mark, this is an excellent post. I so wish I could have been there, too! I also find the info shared by ‘proud Kuwaiti’to be interesting.

  12. Weston Liggett says:

    Great post and fantastic to finally get a glimpse inside. I always thought this place would look right at home on Tracy Island…

  13. Sumsang says:

    Mark, does the third picture show some sort of car race?

    • Mark says:

      I think it was originally a black and white photo that was colorized which could explain why the two cars look like race cars.

  14. aparimith says:

    :( Finally got to know what’s coming up opposite the Catholic church.

  15. Security Adviser says:

    I had an uncle who was an AC tech with Carrier/ Behbehani and who was a part the crew that used to service the Central Airconditioning and Heating for the Palace. Though he never actually had access to certain areas of the interior of the palace he did see that legendary chandelier. When in the old days the news used to be this visiting dignatary or that visiting king they used to show clips of the interior of the guest palace where the Amir of Kuwait was seen greeting the guests. That paticular chandalier was always the the highlight in those clips. My uncle used to comment how the pics would never give justice to what that chandelier was in real life. Sadly he passed away a few years ago otherwise I would called and told him that they were fixing the palace up and that chandelier would very likely be back up there in all its former glory. Question I would like to ask is that Mark said it was dismantelled and put away.. Does that mean that the Iraqi’s didnt steal it or damage it during the war ??

  16. Funny that i have never heard of such palace. Im happy though that they are bringing this history back to life.

    Thanks for sharing

  17. Mark says:

    If anyone wants to know the location of the palace, here it is on Google Maps https://goo.gl/maps/vvhkT

  18. S. says:

    WOW … just wow!!!

    Great clicks

    Question Mark: can you share a high res of image 22 (the colored glass I presume)

  19. Yousef says:

    You could find the whole tender documents (655MB), it includes all the designs, and the exact work which need to be done.. even security cameras system is included under this link:

    http://www.ctc.gov.kw/tenders/47-5621.zip

    I wonder why these files are available to the public.

    • Mark says:

      just downloaded the documents hoping to find the renderings of how the palace would look like so i could share them here but sadly the documents just contain photos similar to the ones i took.

  20. KS says:

    Excellent! Thanks for sharing. Please document more buildings like this in Kuwait

  21. Sami says:

    The building will be turned into the Museum of what?

    • blarneyBoB says:

      Opera for who?

      I can imagine the audience being antsy for not being able to use their mobile phones for the duration of the show.

  22. ariston says:

    Great pix, Mark! Every time I pass on this building I’ve always wondering what’s inside looks like, now I know. Thanks for sharing! :)

  23. Roy Shrejmann says:

    was only for elites and no one allowed in not even for citizens to enter…. thats why i hate gcc countries

  24. SILVER says:

    Al salam palace is being restored budget around 100Million Kd.
    The Project next to it is the Sheikh Jaber Cultural Centre(236Million KD) and one more cultural centre Abdullah salem cutural centre(116Million KD), which is located in shaab/salmiya where there is a school by this same name, which will be demolished. all these are fast track projects to be finished in 2 years

  25. Danderma says:

    I’ve never been more jealous!
    I pass by the palace almost on daily basis and I’m always mesmerised by its beauty! I’ve always fantasised about jumping the fence myself and walking inside before it was demolished or something. I’m glad to learn that not only will it survive but it will be turned into a museum as well!

    Look at those entrance pillars! Those angles and detailing! The glass! Gorgeous, simply gorgeous!

    Now opera house you say? and a theatre? Is this for real? I’ve seen the construction but I thought it was part of the new Sabbiya bridge thing. I’m not hanging too much hope on those but if in a 18 months time the construction does materialise to something real, then I’m hailing this post as the best good news post ever written! Thank you for making my day :D


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