This Middle East country, situated between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, is sovereign emirate. Kuwait has the world's fifth largest proven oil reserve, and it places in the top ten of the richest countries in the world (per capita).
Kuwait has already recovered from the disasters of Iraqi occupation in 1990. Its capital, Kuwait City is a busy metropolis of elegant apartments and office buildings, luxurious hotels, spacious boulevards, and neat gardens and parks.
Citizens of those 34 countries participating in Gulf War can get visa on arrival at Kuwait's airport and land borders. Others need visas, which require an invitation from a sponsor in Kuwait. Israeli citizens are not welcome to the country. Alcohol and pork are illegal and may not be imported into Kuwait.
English is widely spoken; all road signs are both in English and Arabic.
To do and to see
The icons of Kuwait City are the three City Water Towers, designed by Swedish architects and completed in 1976. One of the towers has rotating viewing platform and a restaurant.
Many of Kuwait's sea clubs offer a wide variety of facilities and activities - swimming pools, beaches, tennis courts, gymnasium etc. Sailing, scuba diving or very popular power boating can be enjoyed too.
Horse riding clubs thrive in winter; the winters can be cold (night time temperatures can fall below 0 degrees C).
Restaurants, entertainment, shopping
There is a wide array of restaurants in Kuwait. Because the nightlife is non-existent, people go out to restaurants and malls. The most popular malls in Kuwait are Marina Mall in Salmiya, Souq Sharq in Sharq and Al-Kout Mall in Fahaheel. Kuwait City´s largest mall is called The Avenues. This is probably not only the largest mall in Kuwait but also in whole Middle East. It is the premier shopping and leisure destination. Kuwait is a tax free country and some items can be expensive to ship out.
Hotels in Kuwait are expensive, major Western hotel chains are well represented.
The only airport in Kuwait City has connections with many destinations in the Middle East, as well as with European, Asian and American cities. Other routes for entering the country are less popular of various reasons.
Kuwait has a good road system, and public transport is quite comfortable. Taxis and share-taxis (at fixed rate) are an option; you can either book taxi from hotel or hail one from the road, which is the most practical approach, although not recommended for women. While hiring a car you shall be holder of International Driving Permit.
Tribes migrating from central Arabia, known later as Utub of Qurain, settled in Kuwait in the beginning of 17th century, and the country became a centre for spice trading between India and Europe. In the mid-18th century the Utub elected Sabah I bin Jaber as the first emir of Kuwait. During the rule of the al-Sabah, Kuwait became a hub of trade between India, Mesopotamia and the Levant; it had also one of the largest sea fleets in the region and a flourishing pearling industry.
During the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, Kuwait became its part, gaining status of caza, later an autonomous one. After WWI, the invading British forces declared Kuwait to be an "independent sheikdom under British protectorate". First in 1961 Kuwait became fully independent.
Oil was first discovered in Kuwait in the 1930s. By 1950s the country became the largest exporter of oil in the Persian Gulf region.
The annexation of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990 resulted in Persian Gulf War. The coalition of 34 countries led by US removed the Iraqi forces from Kuwait. During their retreat, the Iraqi armed forces carried out a scorched earth policy by damaging 700 oil wells, most of them were set on fire.
Climate & weather
Kuwait has dry continental/desert climate with very hot summers (June - October). The temperatures can easily go over the average of 38°C/100°F and reach 42-46°C/108-115°F. Winters are short, mild and more humid. The average daytime temperature is then about 21°C/70°F, it drops during night to nearly 0°/32°F.
Time zone: UTC (GMT) +3.
Currency: Kuwaiti dinar (KWD).