Kuwait City: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kuwait City
مدينة الكويت
Madinat Al Kuwayt
Kuwait City's skyline at night
Coordinates: 29°22′11″N 47°58′42″E / 29.36972°N 47.97833°E / 29.36972; 47.97833Coordinates: 29°22′11″N 47°58′42″E / 29.36972°N 47.97833°E / 29.36972; 47.97833
Country Kuwait
Governorate Al Asimah
 - Metro 200 km2 (77.2 sq mi)
Population (2005 estimate)
 - City 96,100
 - Metro 2,380,000
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)

Kuwait City (Arabic: مدينة الكويت, transliteration: Madīnat al-Kuwayt), is the capital and largest city of Kuwait. It has an estimated population of 63,600 (2006 estimate) within city limits and 2.38 million in the metropolitan area. Located at the heart of the country on the shore of the Persian Gulf, and containing Kuwait's parliament (Majlis Al-Umma), most governmental offices, the headquarters of most Kuwaiti corporations and banks, it is the indisputable political, cultural and economic center of the emirate.

Kuwait City’s trade and transportation needs are served by Kuwait International Airport, Mina Al-Shuwaik (Shuwaik Port) and Mina al-Ahmadi (Ahmadi Port) 50 kilometers to the south, on the Persian Gulf coast.



Kuwait City was first settled in the early 18th Century by the Al-Sabāh clan, later the ruling family of Kuwait and a branch of the Al-Utūb tribe (that also included the Al-Khalīfah clan, the ruling family of Bahrain), and their leader, Sheikh Sabāh I. Its name may have derived from an earlier abandoned fort located there, called "Kūt" (كوت) - Arabic for a fortress by the sea.

The settlement grew quickly, and by the time its first wall was built (1760), the town had its own dhow fleet of about 800 and trading relations to Baghdad and Damascus. It was a successful and thriving sea port by the early 19th Century.

It was unclear whether or not Kuwait was part of the Ottoman Empire, and as a result, tensions often broke out between the sheikhdom and the empire. These tensions peaked when, in 1896, Sheikh Mubārak Al-Sabāh assassinated his brother, the emir Muhammad Al-Sabāh, over Mubārak's deep suspicion that the Ottoman Empire was willing to annex Kuwait.

In exchange for British naval protection, Mubārak was not to negotiate or give territory to any other foreign power without British consent. With the discovery of oil in 1936, the city’s standard of living improved dramatically, including health and education services.

On August 2, 1990, Iraqi forces seized the city and on August 8 they annexed the emirate. During the occupation, the city was extensively damaged and many buildings were destroyed after it, including the Kuwait National Museum.

After Iraqi forces retreated from Kuwait in January-February 1991, foreign investors and the Kuwaiti government were actively involved in modernizing the city and turning it into a world-class business hub. Many hotels, shopping malls and offices were built in the city indicating the economic growth since the war.

Built in 1979, the Kuwait Towers are the most famous landmark in Kuwait City.
Kuwait City as seen from Shuwaikh.
An expressway in Kuwait City.
Majlis Al-Umma (مجلس الأمة, "The Council of the Nation"), the Kuwaiti parliament, in Kuwait City.


Although the districts below are not usually recognized as suburbs, the following is a list of a few areas surrounding Kuwait city:


Kuwait’s booming economy has allowed many international hotel chains to enter agreements to open hotels in the country. According to the Kuwait Hotel Owners Association, over twenty-five new hotels are planned or in construction, including the following:

By 2010, over 3,000 rooms are expected to be added to Kuwait’s current hotel inventory.


Kuwait City has an arid climate, featuring very hot summers. High temperatures typically range from 110-115 degrees during the summer and a Kuwait City summer heatwave can see temperatures soar as high as 125 degrees. Winter temperatures are much cooler than summer. Kuwait City sees some rain during the winter at times but during summers, rain is rare. The wettest month is January. During spring, average temperatures start to warm up. Some rain is possible in the early spring. Dust storms occur at times during summer from the shamal wind. Dust storms can occur anytime of year but occur mostly during summer. During autumn, temperatures begin to cool down and duststorms occur less frequently. Around November, rain becomes more frequent.

Weather data for Kuwait City
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 18
Average low °C (°F) 8
Precipitation mm (inches) 24
Avg. rainy days 7 5 5 4 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 5 31
Source: Weather.com[1] January 6, 2009


In 2008, work started on a railway network. connecting the Persian Gulf states.[2]

International relations


Twin towns — Sister cities

Kuwait City is twinned with:

See also

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Kuwait City article)

From Wikitravel

Asia : Middle East : Kuwait : Kuwait City
The beautiful Kuwait Towers
The beautiful Kuwait Towers

Kuwait City (Arabic: Al Kuwayt) is the capital of the country with the same name.


Kuwait City is a bustling metropolis of high-rise office buildings, luxury hotels, wide boulevards and well-tended parks and gardens. Its seaport is used by oil tankers, cargo ships and many pleasure craft. Its most dominant landmarks are the Kuwait Towers.


The main residential and business areas are Salmiya and Hawalli. The main industrial area is Shuwaikh within the Al Asimah Governorate. The main palaces are As-Seef Palace in the old part of Kuwait City where the Emir runs the daily matters of the country, the government headquarters is in Bayan Palace; while the current Emir stays in Dar Salwa

Get in

By plane

Kuwait International Airport (IATA: KWI) [1] is 16 km (10 mi) south of Kuwait City. See the main Kuwait article for the full scoop.

Get around

By taxis

If you don't have your own wheels, taxis are the most practical form of transport. Meters are universally ignored (the official fares haven't changed in years), so agree on the price before you set off. There are two basic types:

Call taxis (aka hotel taxis) are all-white with company decals on the doors, and they can be found lurking around major hotels. Usually ordered by phone, these are usually fairly nice and will take you where you want to go with a minimum of fuss, but charge steeper prices: KD 3 is the standard fare for most trips around town, while going to/from the airport is KD 5. However, if you manage to catch one on the road (away from the watchful eye of the dispatcher), they may cut you a discount. Kuds Taxi, tel. 241-3414, is one of the largest operators.

Orange taxis, which are actually white-and-beige with yellow license plates and "TAXI" signs on the roof, prowl the streets of Kuwait looking for passengers. Fares are negotiable, with short hops from KD 1 and a longer trip across town around KD 2. Readilly available, you are likely to be tooted by them as you try to cross the road. Some, but not all, orange taxis ply only along fixed routes, and you'll be expected to share the cab (and the fare) with other passengers if you board one of these.

By bus

The Kuwait Public Transport Company (KPTC) and CityBus run buses in and around Kuwait City, with a flat 150 fils fare for trips in the city. The two run on the same routes, so KPTC bus 999 will get you to the same place and for the same price as CityBus 999. However, bus shelters are spartan, schedules erratic and information lacking, making this a poor second to taxis if you're in any sort of hurry and not desperately short on cash. For the adventurous, privately-owned CityBus maintains an up-to-date list of routes on their website [2], while figuring out KPTC routes is rather more challenging -- as of 2008, their Transport Kuwait [3] website hasn't been updated in years and the route maps are thoroughly obsolete.

One of the many views you get from the Kuwait Towers
One of the many views you get from the Kuwait Towers
  • Kuwait Towers, Sharq, +965-1820001, [4]. 9 AM-11 PM. Kuwait's unofficial symbol, found on everything except the flag (and that's probably a matter of time), these three towers are Kuwait's top attraction. Designed by Swedes, built by Yugoslavs, and opened in 1979, they're actually rather interesting up close, as the spheres are covered with a funky polka-dot pattern made up from colored circular plates. The first, 178 m (583 ft) high, houses the Viewing Sphere (123 m [403 ft]) complete with a rotating viewing platform; don't miss the photos of the damage done by the Iraqi "barbaric invaders", at the foot of the staircase to the second level of the sphere. In the viewing sphere there is also a small bar that serves soft drinks and snacks. You can enjoy your snack at a stand-up table on the rotating viewing platform. The lower sphere houses the Ofok restaurant (82 m [270 ft]), serving breakfast (ladies only), lunch and dinner buffets daily. The second tower, 145.8 m (478 ft) high, is for water storage and is not accessible to the public, while the third, sphereless spike mostly serves to light up the other two at night. Best visited, but also the most crowded, at sunset. KD 1.  edit
    The trademark telecommunications tower of Kuwait City
    The trademark telecommunications tower of Kuwait City
  • Liberation Tower. One of the tallest telecommunications towers in the world. Tourists are no longer allowed to enter the tower; however, according to a local security guard, visitors are allowed in one day a year in February.
  • National Museum. Stripped of many artifacts during the war – part of it has been renovated and is now open to the public for display. For more information, visit [5].
The best view you might get of Seif Palace
The best view you might get of Seif Palace
  • Seif Palace. Built in 1896, the interior features original Islamic mosaic tile work, though these suffered badly during the Iraqi occupation. You will not be allowed to enter, however it is still interesting to walk by and see the vast gardens of the palace.
  • Sadu House. Near the National Museum. Made of coral and gypsum and is used as a cultural museum to protect the arts and crafts of Bedouin society. It is an ideal place to purchase Bedouin goods.
  • Grand Mosque. Across from the Seif Palace and about a quarter mile east of the National Museum. Guided tours by friendly Kuwaitis are available for tourists. Women can borrow a proper dress from the mosque in order to enter. You will likely be told a time to come back for a tour by the security guard when you visit the mosque. Come back at that time and there will hopefully be a couple of guides available.
The bustling fish market of Kuwait City
The bustling fish market of Kuwait City
  • Fish Market. Arguably the most interesting thing to see in Kuwait. It's a giant, bustling building filled with rows of counters stocked high with fish. The interior is kept very clean with people hosing down the floor constantly. (Located just west of the Sharq mall)
  • Entertainment City
  • Sea Clubs
  • Bayt Al-Badr
  • Science and Natural History Museum
  • Liberation Monument
  • Municipal Gardens
  • Zoological Park
  • Musical Fountain


There are quite a few things to do in Kuwait City. It is possible to have lunch or dinner in the Kuwait towers (the three towers by the sea with water storage). It is worthwhile to take a tour of the Grand Mosque in Kuwait, just kindly ask the security guard in front of the entrance to the mosque. Across the street from the Grand Mosque is the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange, which seems to be open to the public.

While in Kuwait it is also crucial to smoke Shisha (Hookah/Hubbly Bubbly) at a cafe in Kuwait. There are also quite a few great restaurants with Iranian, Lebanese, and Bedouin foods.

The Kuwait Aqua Park, as seen from the Kuwait Towers
The Kuwait Aqua Park, as seen from the Kuwait Towers

To escape the intense heat of the Middle East, visit the Aqua Park near the Kuwait Towers. It's 3.50 KD to get in and offers a variety of modern rides and pools. [6]

One can also walk along many of the well-kept sidewalks that line the coast of Kuwait. At dusk, it's ideal to sit on a bench across from the Sharq Mall and watch the sun set on the Arabian Sea. Buy yourself a cheap sack of nuts or bagful of olives from the souq in the fish market and relax.

Fitness fanatics and the health conscious have several options to get engaged with exclusive fitness center in and around Kuwait City. Some of the best health clubs and gyms are attached to hotels like the Palms, SAS Radisson, Hilton etc. There are also stand alone spas and fitness centers. Elysium, Flex, Spa time and Ayurmana are a few of the highly top fitness centers in Kuwait. Ayurmana also has a highly rated Exclusive Yoga Studio [7]and Ayurveda Health Center [8].

The American University of Kuwait
The American University of Kuwait

There is an American University of Kuwait located near the Ghani Palace Hotel in the Salmiya District, southeast of Kuwait City.


Several high-end malls in Kuwait City, with the Marina Mall being one of the largest. However, prices are quite expensive especially compared with other places in the region.

  • Western style shopping centers: Souk Sharq (Kuwait City) and Marina Mall (Salmia) are both on the coastal Gulf Road and offer excellent shopping. Another shopping centre is "Al-Kout" (Fahaheel) it has several beautiful coffee shops and many other outlets. "Araya Mall" (Sharq) and Al-Salhiya Mall (Sharq) offers high-price designer brands. The Avenues is a new mall which has come up and is one of the largest in Kuwait.
  • Traditional markets: A famous destination is the Souk Al Mubarakiya in the heart of downtown. Middle Eastern and Oriental items abound as well as a gold and jewelry market. Souk Al-Juma'a is a Friday market with very low-priced mass-produced goods and second-hand stuff. The Mahameed markets in Behbahani complex have similar selection and pricing as well.
  • A more Oriental atmosphere can be found on the other side of town also in a western-style mall called Souk Al-Watiya or Al-Watiya Complex, located beside the Sheraton Hotel and 4 Point Sheraton. This place is also called the Adidas Building by local Filipinos. Situated close to churches the whole area can look like a mini India Town and Filipino Town during Friday and Sunday. Many restaurants also serving either fast food or oriental traditional foods. This is also a good place to buy any gold or jewelry.

The Al-Fanar mall in Kuwait has restaurants, cafes and many shops like Ralph Lauren and Lacoste.


French: Le Relais de l'Entrecote (Avenues Mall, Al-Fanar Mall, Salmiya) - The tradional steak frites, based on the original Parisian restaurant in Porte Malliot; Paul (Marina Mall, Salmiya + others) - The patisserrie which serves pretty authentic pastries/baguettes and some decent entrees.

Italian: Lorenzo, next to Salhiya Complex (in Sharg), and Ricardo, which is in the Sheraton are considered among the best Italian restaurants in Kuwait. Pomodoro which is in Sharg next to the church also serves good Italian food. Nino's, on the Gulf Road, is also good, but is more of a casual restaurant.

Indian: Mugal Mahal(sharg), Bukhara (Sheraton hotel), Silk and Spice (Al Kout Mall,Fahaheel), Asha's (Marina crescent)

Lebanese: Villa Fayrouz (Sha'ab), Mejana (Al Kout Mall, Fahahel), Mais Al-Ghanim (Gulf Road), Tarboosh(Sheraton Hotel.

Persian: Shahrayar (Sheraton Hotel), Shabestan (Crowne Plaza Hotel), Baba Taher ( Sharq)

Kuwaiti: AL-Marsa which is in the Ritz Hotel on the gulf road, highly recommended if you want to try local cuisine.

American: Johnny Rockets (Marina Mall, Kout Mall, The Avenues), Chilis and Fridays both located on the gulf road

Japanese: Kei [9]( Marriot Hotel or Marina Mall), Maki (Marina Waves, Edo (Shaeb) Sakura (Crown Plaza hotel or Layla Gallery) all four are highly recommended.

Chinese: Greens (Gulf road), Golden chopsticks (Sha'ab), Peacok (Radisson Sas Hotel).

Burgers: Burger Hub serves over 50 kinds of gourmet burgers & appetizers the largest selection in the GCC & M E [10](Gulf Road in front of Al Seif palace), burger gourmet (marina mall). Burger Co. (Hawalli in front of Muhalab Mall)

Breakfast: Prime and Toast is the first gourmet Deli in the Middle East located opposite (Seif palace).

  • 360 mall


Numi Tea House

This is not a typical tea house! It is reasonably priced yet offers so much more than you would expect. There are several varieties of herbal teas to choose from and the menu is quite large. The atmosphere is quite cozy although the tea house itself is larger and beautifully decorated with contemporary style furniture. Address: Salem Al Mubarak Street, Salmiya, Kuwait. Telephone Number: (965) 5725870


Western chains are prevalent in Kuwait, with the JW Marriott and Sheraton as the largest five-star hotels in the downtown business district. The Courtyard by Marriott and Four Points by Sheraton are also present, along with two luxury Le Méridien properties. A Crowne Plaza is located near Kuwait International Airport; there are also two Holiday Inn properties, one in the shopping district of Salmiya and the other located in downtown Kuwait City. Additional resort hotels, such as the Hilton and Kempinski, are located on the coast.

New hotels scheduled to open in Kuwait between 2008 and 2010 include the Golden Tulip Kuwait, Hotel Missoni Kuwait, Ibis Salmiya, Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait, The Regent Kuwait at Messilah Beach, InterContinental Kuwait and the Hilton Olympia Kuwait. Other properties by different groups are also planned.

  • Hawali Continental Hotel, [11].  edit
  • The Oasis Hotel, intersection of Ahmad Al-Jaber Street and Mubarak Al-Kabeer Street, +965 2465489 (, fax: +965 2465490), [12]. Solid hotel in down town Kuwait City, will arrange pickup from airport, good Indian restaurant on the top floor.  edit
  • Courtyard Kuwait City, Al Shuhada Street (Dasman), +965-22-997000, [13]. Much nicer than your average Courtyard, but priced to match. 22 stories of understated modern style built around a soaring atrium. Large but shallow rooftop pool, decent gym, free wired Internet in every room and wifi in the lobby, amazing breakfast buffet. Directly connected to the Arraya Centre shopping mall. US$250.  edit
  • Radisson SAS Kuwait, Al Bida Al Tawoun Street, Salwa, +965-5-756000, [14]. This five star beachfront resort hotel is only a few minutes away from the center of Kuwait city and major shopping areas. There is a large selection of business, recreational and leisure facilities, wide range of recreational activities. There are also amazing restaurants to choose from as well as a convenient free city shuttle service.  edit

Stay safe

Kuwait City is one of the safest places in the Middle East. Crime rates are low and the neighboring civil conflict in Iraq has not spilled over into Kuwait.

Be very careful crossing streets -- Kuwaiti drivers are reckless. There are no pedestrian lights, pedestrian crossings are virtually ignored.


Kuwait is a mostly Muslim country so wear respectable clothing during your travels. That said, "respectful" is a relative term. Kuwaiti malls are full of young Kuwaitis in shorts, tight clothing, etc. Along with Dubai, this is one the few places in the region it is easy to get away with wearing shorts if one wants to.

A Kuwaiti man walking along in traditional Arabic dress
A Kuwaiti man walking along in traditional Arabic dress

Do not say anything that might be perceived as an insult to Islam, the Kuwaiti government, or national pride. Drug trafficking, murder, and rape are punishable by death.


The best way for any Westerner to cope with living in Kuwait, particularly if coming here without family, is to make plenty of friends. The newcomer will find that friendships among members of the Western expatriate community are formed more quickly than back home. There are plenty of social activities to get involved with, especially sport (cricket, rugby, sailing, squash, tennis, horse riding, darts, to name a few). Also available are theatre groups, ramblers, choirs, and business associations (in conjunction with various of the Western embassies here). Christian churches are also well represented.

An essential first step is to register with your home country's embassy, under the warden system, so that the Consular staff know you have arrived and where you live in Kuwait. Also, it is sensible to register with a decent doctor and a dentist. Your embassy can help with this.

Alcohol is illegal in Kuwait and possession of this carries very harsh penalties. Many inhabitants, however, both Kuwaiti and expatriate, maintain well stocked bars at home. Home brewing is a thriving hobby. That said, it is essential to remember that this is a Muslim country and it is foolish in the extreme to flout openly the laws of the place. Due respect should be shown at all times.

The summers (particularly July and August) are extremely hot, with temperatures during the day reaching over 50°C (122°F) for weeks on end. It is therefore important to drink plenty of water at these times to avoid dehydration and to keep out of the sun as far as possible. December to February can, surprisingly, be really cold, with night time temperatures falling below 0°C (32°F). The spring time (March and most of April) is delightful in terms of weather. Thereafter, the weather heats up and it is often mid - October before the place starts to cool down.

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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