Tareq Rajab Museum of Islamic Calligraphy Housed in the basement of a large villa, this exquisite ethnographic museum should not be missed. There are inlaid musical instruments suspended in glass cabinets; Omani silver and Saudi gold jewellery; headdresses, from the humble prayer cap to the Mongol helmet; costumes worn by princesses and by goatherds; necklaces for living goddesses in Nepal; Jaipur enamel; and Bahraini pearls. Despite all these superbly presented pieces, it's the Arabic manuscripts in the Calligraphy Museum that give the collection its international importance.
The museum was assembled as a private collection of Islamic art by Kuwait’s first minister of antiquities and his British wife. A pair of ornate doors from Cairo and Carl Haag’s 19th-century painting of Lady Jane Digby El Mesreb of Palmyra, who lived in tents in the winter and a Damascus villa in the summer, mark the entrance to an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful items.
The museum is in Jabriya, near the intersection of the Fifth Ring Motorway and the Abdulaziz Bin Abdilrahman Al Saud Expressway (also known as the Fahaheel Expressway). There is no sign on the building, but it is easily identified by its entrance – a carved wooden doorway flanked by two smaller doors on each side. All four of the door panels are worked in gilt metal.
Allow an hour to visit, although anyone with a passion for textiles will inevitably want to stay longer. Buses 102 and 502 stop at Hadi Clinic. Walk south along the Fahaheel Expressway for five minutes and turn right just after the Iranian School. Walk for a further 50m and the museum is on the left.
Address: Abdulla Al Salem St, Al Kuwayt, Kuwait