The Kuwaiti Emirate lays on the territory of Old Mesopotamia and Sumer, sharing the Arabian Gulf with Iraq. It is currently one of the most prosperous states in the world, and a paradise for foreigners who are looking for work and great salaries, but don’t imagine that it’s for anyone: you must work in the oil field, engineering, medicine, education, architecture and other elite activities.
It is a country where desert represents most of its relief. Summer in Kuwait lasts from April to mid-November. Temperature in the months from June to August is around 50-55 degrees C. In winter the average daytime temperature is 15 degrees C, but evenings and nights are cool. Sometimes you will experience strong and very cold winds. Humidity is high during September to November.
The main attraction of this country is the placing near the sea, which gives it a favorable position throughout the Middle East. For centuries, the sea has played an important role in this region of the world where more than 180 kilometers of coast which makes Kuwait a privileged maritime power. Throughout time the sea was the main food resource of Kuwait, which could not achieve other means of surviving in the arid desert.
About 35 kilometers from the capital city, named Kuwait City, there is Ahmadi, the most important oil port, which lies 130 meters below sea level, interrupting the monotony of the desert. No rivers or streams, just artificially created water sources.
Failaka Island is situated around 32 kilometers from the eastern coast. The main occupations of the inhabitants are fishing and shipbuilding. The island is visited by many tourists and very hospitable islanders show their visitors great courtesy.
The Danish archaeologists found the remains of a temple comparable to and as important as the Greek Parthenon, on the island, as well as many coins with the image of Alexander the Great and his successor Antiochus. Subsequent excavations confirm Alexander's fleet passing through the waters of Kuwait.
But the soil of Failaka attests a much older past and preserves even older relics. The island used to represent a major commercial route which connected the Indian Ocean to the Tiger and Euphrates valley.
On the way, you can visit the sanctuary of Al-Khidr where infertile women come Wednesday and Saturday to pray for a baby. According to the legend, the spirit of the Holy Al-Khidr stops on the path leading to Mecca and miraculously infertile women are able to have children.
You can also visit a museum, an Arab house where traditional objects and ancient agricultural tools are kept intact. Among the curiosities of the island, the visitors can admire the old tombstones, measuring six meters in length that are attributed to giants who once inhabited the island. Traces of the more recent history can also be found: it used to be inhabited by more people, but after the Iraqi invasion in early 1990s’, many houses have been destroyed or left to oblivion and decay.
The island has a very pleasant climate; the beaches are beautiful, bathed by a transparent and calm sea. Locals have recently discovered the touristic potential of the island and they are making efforts to organize and promote tourism. You can choose an old boat to sail on (the experience lasts more than three hours), in exchange for a less picturesque but more modern and comfortable means of transport, such as a modern boat or a yacht.
Kuwait is now a prosperous state. Capital, Al Kuwait, or Kuwait City is very modern and beautiful place, with huge, imposing buildings. As you entering the heart of the capital city, you have to pass the Jahra Gate, which is surrounded by a lawn and palm trees that are artistically illuminated at nightfall. Throughout the wide roads and highways you will admire majestic glass and concrete buildings, as well as very modern luxury hotels.
Shopping galleries have a great variety of great luxurious articles, haute couture collections and anything that you can wish for, making Kuwait a real Paris of the desert.
Here, the spirit of Babylon is forever present; you will meet all nationalitied and hear all languages on the face of the Earth: Indians and Pakistanis in colored saris, local women shrouded in black veils, people from all over the world. Kuwaiti businessmen wearing long robes called dishdasha, which are white during the summer and light grey, blue, black, beige or brown during the winter. The famous Arabic headdress is named gutra, which is is a square piece of cloth that is folded into a triangle and placed so that the ends hang down equally over the shoulders. White is usually worn in summer, and a heavier red and white in winter. It is held in a place by an ogal, a double circlet of twisted black cord. One or both ends of the gutra can also be placed backwards over the egal.
Another tourist attraction is the souk - the Arab market, which is a truly magic word that evokes the smells of spices, flavorings of all kind. It is a motley world, with narrow overcrowded streets where there are displayed colorful fabrics, technical equipment from Hong Kong, traditional objects, slippers, handicrafts in traditional style and all sorts of other things. You cannot get there without tasting the traditional kebab, shawarma and coffee Arabica, which is known to be very hard and bitter.
There are plenty of cultural edifices that can be visited, such as the National Museum, the Scientific Center – one of the most popular places, where you will admire the wildlife of the desert and pass through one of the biggest aquariums in the world. Tareq Rajab Museum of Islamic Arts and tareq rajab Museum of Caligraphy are two more fascinating sites, the Kuwaiti maritime Museum, an open-air museum where you can admire all the types of boats that have been used in the area; also Dar Al Athar Al Islamiya, which hosts many cultural events, such as theatre performances, concerts, reading sessions etc. House of Mirrors is also not to be missed.
Another important attraction are and mosques, especially the Grand Mosque, the biggest and most important religious edifice of the country and one of the greatest in the entire Middle East.
As for the overall atmosphere, the architecture of people’s houses and villas is surprising and flamboyant; every possible style is allowed here, it is a true Hollywood atmosphere, and you will admire very beautiful gardens.
In this amazing world, sand is flying everywhere, reminding you that there is still desert. So get ready to face the annoying sand storms that usually take place in the warm season, from May to September.
For those who love sport, you can go to one of the luxurious hotels, that have clubs where you can play tennis, can swim, do pilates, yoga, fitness etc. For the outdoor leisure activities, I would mention submarine diving, fishing; horse races, camel races (which are still quite rare).
You can go on organized trips to the islands, to the desert, on shipyards, especially at sunset, when the desert’s charm is enhanced by the colors of the sky.
Pic8: prayertimesnyc.comKUWAIT, THE EMIRATE WHERE THE MAGIC OF ANCIENT SUMER AND MODERN FLAMBOYANCE MIX IN A LOVELY BLEND KUWAIT, THE EMIRATE WHERE THE MAGIC OF ANCIENT SUMER AND MODERN FLAMBOYANCE MIX IN A LOVELY BLEND