Al Diwan Al Amiri
The Amiri Diwan (Al-Diwan Al-Amiri as it is known in Arabic) is the symbol of the State of Kuwait’s sovereignty. It is the headquarters and the seat of the country’s rulers.
Since the era of Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, various ministers have headed Al-Diwan Al-Amiri. Notable among them are Sheikh Khaled Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah who held the position from 1978 to 1991. Following the liberation of Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion, Sheikh Nasser Muhammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah assumed the role on September 10, 1991, serving until 2006, succeeded by Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah on February 12, 2006, to 2017, followed by Sheikh Ali Jarrah Al-Sabah from 2017 to 2021. Currently, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah has been in office since 2021.
Due to Kuwait’s unique geographical location, the expansion of trade activity during the reign of Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah (Mubarak Al-Kabeer) 1896-1915, and the influx of many delegations and merchants to Kuwait, the importance of building a palace that represents the ruler’s residence and a center of government became apparent, and therefore a palace was built overlooking the sea in 1906-1907, and it was officially called “Al Sief Palace”.
Since then, with the succession of Kuwaiti rulers over time, efforts were made to develop and expand “Al Seif Palace” as it is an integral part of the history and civilization of Kuwait and its rulers. The first renovation of the palace was carried out by the late Sheikh Salem bin Mubarak Al-Sabah in 1917. On its main gate, an Arabic saying was inscribed “If it lasted for others, it wouldn’t have passed to you”.
Then the late Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah also carried out some renovation and additions in 1961, and by the end of the following year, it was officially named: Al-Diwan Al-Amiri.
Many features of Islamic architecture can be seen throughout Al-Sief Palace, such as the use of arches, Islamic arabesque, and wooden oriental windows “Mashrabia” along with unique touches from Kuwait’s rich heritage. Simple raw materials were used in the palace construction, including clay, rocks, limestone, wood and metals. One of Al-Sief Palace’s prominent features is the clock tower, with a golden dome housing a bell clock.
As Kuwait experienced significant and economic development in recent years, there was a pressing need to expand Al Diwan Al Amiri building to reflect Kuwait’s prominent status among nations. Thus, building extension project began in 1987, but it was halted after the brutal Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. However, the project resumed its work which includes Al Diwan Al Amiri building, the Crown Prince building, as well as a meeting hall building for the Cabinet and its General Secretariat after the liberation of Kuwait.
As for the old Sief Palace, a special action plan was initiated by the state to restore and renovate the palace while preserving its distinct historical character over the years.