Sophisticated and interesting, Kuwait City is marked by excellent museums, eclectic souqs and malls, a world-class aquarium and stunning architecture. A fascinating history adds to these sights, and the capital remains one of the most intriguing cities in the region.
For centuries, souqs have been the center of life in the Gulf region. Although Kuwait City’s Old Souq is now housed in a smart, modern building, the busting market retains much of its antique atmosphere. There, locals trade dates and olives in a time-honored tradition, haggle over tails of ox and ribands of offal and sell aromatic spices that fill the air with an intoxicating scent. Spend a few hours soaking in the energy of the souq, sampling local delicacies and shopping for woolen vests, black kohl eyeliner, gold-spangled dresses and handicrafts.
The Old Souq represents the city’s past, and the Arab Fund Building represents its bright future. The magnificent exterior gives way to an airy and light interior that is a tribute to the Arabic architectural principles of decoration, integrity of space and function. The sunny eight-story atrium opens to exquisite meeting rooms and extravagant corridors, and the region’s best traditional craftsmanship is represented through lavish carpets, ceramic sculptures and woodwork. To see the extraordinary building, call to request an appointment with a tour guide.
One of the most popular tourist draws in the capital is the Aquarium, housed in a sail-shaped building on the coast. It is the Middle East’s largest aquarium and home to a dizzying array of sea life that includes turtles, black-spotted sweetlips, giant spider crabs, living reefs, fluorescent jellyfish and more. Every display is interesting, but the most spectacular are the floor-to-ceiling wraparound ray and shark tanks.
There are a number of impressive museums in Kuwait City, and one of the best is the National Museum. During the Iraqi occupation, many of the exhibition halls were damaged, burned or looted, but intense pressure from the international community has led to the return of many of the museum’s treasures. More than 2,000 pieces are now on display, detailing various aspects of the nation’s heritage, history and culture. The best exhibits display ancient treasures found on Failaka Island and Hellenistic limestone carvings.
The exquisite Tareq Rajab Museum is another one of Kuwait City’s finest. Housed in a sprawling villa, the ethnographic museum includes dazzling gold jewelry, costumes worn by peasants and princes, Jaipur enamels, inlaid musical instruments, Nepalese necklaces, Omani silver, Bahraini pearls and more.
One of the most moving spaces in the city is the Al-Qurain Martyrs’ Museum, dedicated to the young patriots who attempted to resist arrest in February of 1991. Iraqis pummeled the house for hours using bombs, machine guns and even a tank. Four of the patriots managed to hide in the roof space but nine were captured and killed after being tortured. The small museum is a memorial to not just the patriots but also to the other Kuwait City families who suffered during the Iraqi occupation.
Other places worth visiting in the capital include the Al-Hashemi Marine Museum, the quirky House of Mirrors, the famous Kuwait Towers, the Beit Dickson, home of British agent Colonel Harold Dickson, the extensive Corniche with its 10 kilometers of beaches, paths and parks, the Popular Traditional Museum and the Grand Mosque, the biggest of the capital’s more than 800 mosques.
Kuwait City Geographical Location
Kuwait City is located on the central eastern coast of the Persian Gulf.
The population of Kuwait City is approximately 2,380,000 within the metropolitan area.
Kuwait City Language
Arabic is the official language of Kuwait while English is widely spoken as a second language.
Kuwait City Predominant Religion
- 85% Muslim
- 15% Other
Most of the Muslim population are Sunni Muslims and the “other” percentile practice Christianity, Hinduism, and Parsi.
Kuwait City Currency
The Kuwait Dinar is the official currency of Kuwait.
Kuwait City Climate
Kuwait city is typically very hot during the summer with cool winters and very little rainfall. Dust storms are frequent but occur mostly during the summer.
Kuwait City Main Attractions
- Kuwait Towers
- Sadu House
- Liberation Tower
Other Attraction in Kuwait City
- Grand Mosque
- Kuwait National Museum
- Souk Sharq
- The Scientific Center