Crowning the Persian Gulf, the Emirate of Kuwait has a rich history of trials and triumphs. Kuwait City, also known as Al-Kuwait, has the proud distinction of being the capital of this oil-rich state. Home to government offices, towering buildings and sprawling parks, it is located just 16 kilometres from the Kuwait International Airport. One among the more cosmopolitan cities of the Middle East, it has managed in recent years to put the horrors of the ‘90s Gulf War behind it and rise once more from the ashes, a bustling metropolis that makes the rest of this tiny sheikhdom proud.
Geographical Outline The State of Kuwait is divided into six governates, namely the Capital (Kuwait City), Hawally, Mubarak Al-Kabeer, Al-Ahmadi, Al-Farwaniya and Al-Jahraa. Although the Capital is the only actual city here, it is nevertheless classified as a governate surrounded by the other areas of Hawalli, Salmiya, Jabriya etc. The city is an amalgamation of sorts; pretty residential areas, commercial hubs and the scenic landscapes—all clamor for your attention.
When talking about Kuwait it is difficult to forget the fact that considering the country's not-so-large size, it boasts of a 290 kilometer coastline! So in effect what you behold when you get to Kuwait City is the lightness of the coastal areas along with a rich, desert ambience.
Important Streets and Neigborhoods Kuwait City is anything but large, and as such, it is easy to find your way around. The most important coastal and commercial streets in the city are Arabian Gulf Street and Fahd Al Salim Street respectively. These streets cross and curve their way through major shopping areas and scenic routes. The six Ring Roads, on the other hand, are important as major link-ways. Their network includes Maghreb Expressway, the Fahaheel Expressway, Shuwaikh, Fahaheel, Jahra and the all-pervasive Gulf Street.
Arabian Gulf Street is home to many a market, ranging from the smelly fish markets to the huge centers like the Sultan Chopping Center. Important landmarks like the National Museum and the Al-Shaab Sea Club are accessible through Gulf Street. It also runs through the pretty Messila Beach. Fahad Al Salim Street, on the other hand, is home to posh hotels like the Sheraton Kuwait Hotel & Towers and the four-star Kuwait Continental Hotel nearby. The Ring Roads which run through Fahaheel, Jahra and Shuwaikh (among the city's surrounding areas), are filled with markets and souks selling everything from gold and jewels to fruits and vegetables. Apart from all the shopping, visitors and locals are captivated by the magical Musical Fountain on 1st Ring Road. If you get tired of this busy mosaic known as Kuwait City, plan a trip to the beautiful and peaceful Failaka Islands, just off the city-coast!
Whether you want to explore bustling Kuwait City Centre or enjoy the sparseness of its outskirts, you will appreciate the Arabian warmth and hospitality, as well as its colorful history.