Overview of Kuwait
**Kuwait is a country in the Middle East, next to Saudi Arabia. It has a population of 4.2 million people, with many expats who have been drawn to the country's growing prosperity. This is reflected in the glitzy hotels, designer shops, and upmarket restaurants which continue to attract visitors from all over the world. The tourism industry in the country has suddenly bloomed, rivalling the popularity of nearby Dubai, with Kuwaitis determined to be the Next Big Thing in Middle-Eastern tourism.
The capital city was founded in 1613 as a small fishing village, and to this day, elements of low-key traditional Kuwaiti culture blend with its dazzling contemporary attractions. Once you've browsed through the modern shopping centres, it's worth taking some time to venture outside and explore the capital city's more historic sights. The Bait Al-Othman museum is a great place to start, with its quirky displays and artefacts that tell the story of the country. The Tareq Rajab Museum and Dar al Athar al Islamiyyah cultural centre showcase traditional Islamic art, with a variety of stunningly intricate tapestries in rich, warm colours.
Trade fairs are a major draw for shoppers wanting a characterful bargain, thanks to the wide variety of luxe jewellery, sumptuous textiles, and rustic pottery on offer. Due to the hot, sunny weather, Kuwait is a year-long destination. Sun worshipers will love spending time catching rays on the clean sandy beaches, before taking a dip in the crystal-clear water.
Things to do in Kuwait
Kuwait is filled with many attractions and sights to see. The majority are based in the capital city, with shopping centres and markets that offer a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. There are also restaurants, sports games, and architectural wonders; all contained in this special country.
A View From the Top
The Kuwait Towers is a group of three towers in Kuwait City. These giant and iconic towers were awarded the Aga Khan Award for Architecture thanks to their unusual design, with large spikes and spherical elements. They were designed by Danish architect Malene Bjørn and opened in 1979, and have been a big hit with tourists ever since, thanks to the beautiful vista from the viewing platform. The main tower is 187 metres (614 ft) high and contains a hall and restaurant, where you can while away an afternoon looking out over the city.
Shop 'till You Drop
Kuwait is the ideal destination for shopaholics, thanks to its many clean, air-conditioned shopping centres with a wealth of designer shops. The most popular mall is called The Avenues, and is located in the Rai area. It opened in 2007 and won the ICSC Gold Award for “Best Shopping Center 2013”. It houses shops from designers such as Ralph Lauren, Burberry, and Chanel, as well as a cinema, ceramics studio, spa, and indoor arcade.
A Haven for Football Lovers
Kuwait is known for its passion for football. One of the best ways to experience this is to watch a local or national game at one of the many stadiums. The country's best teams can be found in the Kuwaiti Premier League. The national team's home ground is Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium, with a capacity of 67,000 and an exciting, passionate atmosphere.
A Real Life Aladdin's Cave
The Souk Al-Mubarakiya is a large flea/street market in the capital city, that gives tourists an authentic taste of Middle Eastern culture. It is filled with local, traditional products, from food through to souvenirs. There are many stalls selling fruit, vegetables, spices, and local delicacies that can't be found anywhere else in the world. It is ideal for picking up leather goods, traditional goods, and homeware. The market is a great place for finding gifts for family and friends.
Five Star Dining
The city has a wide range of restaurants that offer modern and traditional cuisine. Salt is a restaurant in the capital city that is famed for its fresh, local seafood, including prawns and lobster thermidor. It is one the most popular and highest-rated restaurants in the country thanks to its quality ingredients and friendly service. For those wishing to try more local delicacies, Dar Hamad offers Kuwaiti food with a luxury twist. It's also possible to try Chinese, American, or Caribbean food in the city; at Peacock Chinese Restaurant, Pepper Steak House, and The Caribbean Hut.
Calendar of events in Kuwait
There are lots of fun and exciting cultural events in Kuwait throughout the year. There is something for everyone, from music fans through to foodies and shopaholics, with events for both adults and kids.
The Hala Festival is an annual celebration in Kuwait, which celebrates the country's liberation. It lasts for a whole month, during February, and is one of the most important events in the calendar. There is always a full program of events, from parades and live music through to sales in most shops.
The Gulf Jazz Festival is held during the spring at the Radison Hotel and is a firm favourite with tourists and locals. It has been in operation for over 15 years and has grown to many other countries in the Middle East. It attracts legendary jazz performers from all over the world, such as Shankar Mahadevan.
International Trade Festival
The International Trade Festival is held in Mishref and is a great way to see the products that the country has to offer, from homeware to cosmetics, jewellery and fashion. It is the most important expo in the country and draws trade experts and interested visitors from many nations.
Eid is an important religious festival that marks the end of Ramadan. For 3-4 days, there are many celebrations with gifts, parties, and great food, including the traditional sweet dish Sewain; made from noodles, milk, sugar, and dried fruits. Visitors can also attend the Ramadan and Eid Exhibition which is a large trade fair selling a variety of interesting and useful products.