Kuwait, located in the east of the Arabian Peninsula, is a beautiful Muslim country, famous for its cozy beaches and warm sea.
Things to do in Kuwait
The territory around modern Kuwait was mastered in the days of the ancient Sumerians. For many years it was the center of the Persian Empire, which successfully competed with Roman civilization, and then became part of the Arab world.
Since 1890, Kuwait has been a British protectorate. The contract ended in 1961. After the «golden era» of the country began. The oil discovered here brought prosperity, but rapid growth was slowed down by the economic crisis and the war in the Persian Gulf. In recent years, the situation has stabilized, and Kuwait has firmly taken the place of the cultural center of the Middle East. People from all over the world come here to walk along the narrow Arab streets, admire the mosques and palaces.
The calm atmosphere and openness contribute to the popularity of the country. In February, guests gather to celebrate the liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi occupation. For a whole month, musical concerts, bright parades, and festive events are held in different cities.
The favorable geographical position has turned Kuwait into an excellent resort. The Persian Gulf with the purest white sand, gently sloping beaches and warm water is ideal for a family vacation. Tourism infrastructure is developed in coastal cities. Travelers are offered scuba diving, surfing, sport fishing. Those who wish to fly with an instructor on a hang glider, ride a boat on the sea, visit uninhabited islands scattered along the coast.
Like any country in the Middle East, Kuwait is famous for its colorful markets. In the capital city of Kuwait City, there is a souq al-Mubarakiya bazaar with a two-hundred-year history. It has thousands of stalls with silk Persian carpets, Arabic antiques, gold and silver jewelry, spices and fruits. There are two mini-museums in the market: an old Islamic pharmacy and Sheikh Mubarak’s kiosk.
For adults and children, Kuwait offers a vacation that will be remembered for a long time. It offers tourists modern water parks, zoos, fun rides, interesting excursions.
On the coast of the Persian Gulf in Kuwait, three reinforced concrete towers were built to maintain water pressure in the city’s water supply network. Due to their original appearance, they have become a world landmark and a hallmark of the country.
The main tower is 187 meters high. The narrow cone-shaped structure is topped by two large balls: the lower one contains water, and the upper one is a restaurant with a panoramic view of the city. The second design is smaller and decorated with one ball. The third tower houses the electrical equipment for the maintenance of the facility. Kuwaiti «balls», decorated with steel discs in gray, blue and green, are brightly lit at night.
Al Hamra Tower
In the center of the capital rises a 414-meter skyscraper, which is one of the most recognizable in the Middle East. The building attracts with an unusual shape, reminiscent of clothes fluttering in the wind. The building is faced with limestone tiles, rounded corners are decorated with shiny mosaics.
Facing stone neutralizes the sun’s rays and protects the walls from overheating. Inside the 77-story skyscraper is a huge shopping center. There are shops, cinemas, gyms. There is a restaurant and an observation deck on the roof.
One of the first skyscrapers in the capital appeared in 2009. The tower, 300 meters high, is crowned with a 45-meter spire, at the end of which a lighthouse turns on at night. The exterior walls are clad in white marble, green glass and steel rods.
The square structure has 60 floors. On each tier there are offices of well-known companies, boutiques and shopping centers. The interiors feature high ceilings and large windows that provide natural light. The skyscraper has a system of high-speed elevators.
The largest wooden ship in the world flaunts in Kuwait next to the upscale Radisson Blu hotel. The $30 million vessel was commissioned by Hussein Marafi in 1997. It has a length of 83.75 meters and a width of 18.5 meters.
The ship Al-Hashemi II, decorated with carved ornaments and made in compliance with all technologies, has never been released to the sea. This is a tourist site listed in the Guinness Book of Records and used for holidays.
The construction of a 372-meter telecommunications tower in the center of Kuwait started in 1990. After the invasion of Iraq, work was suspended and continued at the end of the war. The modern elegant building is a symbol of the liberation of Kuwait. The tower is crowned with a wide dome and a narrow spire. The office of the TV and radio company, a revolving restaurant and an observation deck are located inside.
National Assembly building
The palace, designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon in 1972, is the pearl of Kuwait City. The white building resembles a miniature fortress in traditional Islamic style. The mansion with a sloping roof is decorated with rows of thin semi-cylindrical columns. At night, the walls are illuminated with soft neon light.
There are no external windows at all – light comes in through skylights on the roof and open courtyards. After the Gulf War, the National Assembly Palace was damaged and required $70 million to restore.
The Emir Palace in Bayan was built in 1986. The walls of the modern two-story residence are finished with white marble and original patterns. Multi-colored stained-glass windows are inserted into the small windows. In the courtyard there is a large park with alleys, flower beds and fountains.
The Bayan Palace houses an advanced conference center, so the building is used for international symposiums and ceremonial meetings.
Historical and religious sites
The Government Palace, erected in 1904 in the capital, is the official residence of the Crown Prince of Kuwait. Clay, stone blocks, limestone, wooden elements were used for construction. The building with a high watchtower is decorated with large arches and colorful stained-glass windows. The roof of the tower, covered with blue tiles, is crowned with a brilliant golden dome. Inside the courtyard there is a magnificent garden.
The palace, erected by order of Sheikh Mubarak al-Sabah in 1896 in the south of Jahra, got its name from the red stone walls. The architectural ensemble covers an area of 6500 m². The semicircular structure is framed by battlements 4.5 meters high. In the corners there are towers for defense and observation of the surroundings.
Now the Red Palace belongs to the National Council for Culture and Art. It regularly hosts weapons exhibitions, folk dance shows, and ceremonial events.
Al-Safat Square in the center of the capital is a historical place. In the first half of the last century, there was a large market for caravans from the desert. The territory was surrounded by coffee houses and hotels for the rest of merchants. In the fifties, the market was removed, the ground was asphalted, beautiful alleys were laid, benches and a beautiful fountain were installed.
Today’s Safat Square is used for military parades and celebrations. Commercial shops and restaurants are built around it.
The largest mosque in Kuwait was built by Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah in 1986. The architectural complex consists of the Great Mosque with a 26-meter dome, a high minaret and a huge garden with flowers, palm trees, fountains, waterfalls and pavilions.
At night, the mosque is decorated with bright lights — its colors change depending on the phases of the moon. The Main Prayer Hall easily accommodates 10,000 people. There is a library and an Islamic center on the territory.
Kuwait National Museum
It is easy to find five houses in Kuwait City centered around a lush garden. The buildings are interconnected by ground crossings. Inside there is a national museum of the country, which stores ethnographic and archaeological exhibits. Tourists are shown ancient weapons, ceramics, ancient coins, traditional Arab clothes, books and jewelry. Separate exhibitions are devoted to the customs and cultural characteristics of the Kuwaitis.
Modern Art Museum
The house, erected in 1939 for a madrasah, has long been the cultural center of Kuwait. Many famous people studied within its walls, including Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad. In 2003, a new building was chosen for the school, and a museum was opened in the mansion. Exquisite works of modern Arabic art are exhibited in its spacious halls: paintings, engravings and sculptures by world-famous masters.
Natural History Museum
Kuwait City has the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Center, which consists of several museums dedicated to Arab culture and history. The Natural History Museum has eight galleries with information about the prehistoric era of the Middle East, geography, environment, flora and fauna, and natural phenomena. Popular exhibits include a huge aquarium showing the underwater world of the Persian Gulf, the skeleton of an ancient whale 17 meters long, stuffed animals and birds.
An important part of the Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Cultural Center is the Science Museum. It invites you on an exciting journey full of adventures and experiments. Interactive exhibitions talk about advanced scientific achievements, explain why tsunamis, earthquakes and hurricanes happen, and introduce the structure of the human body.
A special gallery is reserved for cars, aircraft, boats of different years of manufacture. In the robotics department, you can see robots and find out what technologies are used to create modern machines.
Exhibitions at the Space Museum in Kuwait are equally interesting for adults and children. The exposition introduces the theory of the Big Bang, talks about space travel, the solar system, galaxies and the universe. Among the exhibits are powerful telescopes, satellites, aircraft, spacesuits, communication devices and even meteorites. For those who wish, there are platforms that simulate a flight on a spaceship, and a large planetarium.
Museum of Arab Islamic Science
The museum tells about Arab scientists who made great achievements. The exposition covers the VIII-XIV centuries. The first thing visitors see is a map of the Middle East with models of iconic mosques and palaces with unique architecture. Further there are exhibits telling about the activities of scientists in the field of mathematics, philosophy, and art.
In interactive classrooms, you can listen to entertaining lectures and design historic houses or lay out ancient trade routes on your own.
Natural attractions and entertainment
Al Shaheed Park
In the heart of the Kuwaiti capital, there is a park that is considered the standard of landscape art. Beautiful trees are planted on a vast territory, lush flower beds and pavilions for board games are equipped. A youth complex was built in the green zone, including a sports club, a playground, and an open-air stage for performances.
There are two museums in the park:
- The Gallery of Remembrance tells about important moments in Kuwaiti history.
- The Habitat Museum showcases the flora and fauna of the country.
Not so long ago, next to the capital’s embankment, the first artificial island in the Persian Gulf, designed for people to relax, appeared. In the middle of the island is a large salt lake surrounded by a white sandy beach. Nearby is a park with playgrounds for children, a dolphinarium, observation towers overlooking the sea, spa centers and hotels. It offers interesting attractions, a variety of cafes, shops and commercial centers.
An island in the Persian Gulf, located 20 km from the mainland, has an area of 43 km². It is a popular tourist attraction, famous for its modern hotels and clean beaches. People come here by ferry for fishing, sailing, boating and water rides.
Failaka Island also attracts history buffs. During the archaeological excavations, traces of the habitation of an ancient person, fragments of Greek settlements and the ruins of the temple of Artemis were found here.
The zoo, located in one of the districts of El Kuwait, covers an area of 400 hectares. The facility, commissioned in 1968, was severely damaged during the Gulf War and was closed for renovation for several years.
After restoration, new animals, playgrounds and cafes appeared in it. Among the inhabitants of the zoo are African predators, artiodactyls, birds, marine mammals. There are carousels, a veterinary clinic and an animal research center on the territory.