Capital | Kuwait City
Population | 2,595,628 (July 2011 est.)
Area | 17,820 SQ KM
Official Language | Arabic
Holidays | National Day, 25 February (1950)
Currency | Dinar (KWT)
Time Zone | UTC +3
Best Time to Visit | May (Spring) to October (autumn)
Connecting with the Culture | Taking in the views of the Sief Palace from the Kuwait Towers in Kuwait City. Sampling Islamic art at the Tareq Rajab Museum in Kuwait City. Buying Bedouin goods at Sadu House in Kuwait City. Strolling through the public gardens in Al-Ahmadi. Wandering among the archaeological ruins on Failaka Island.
Read | Thomas Friedman’s From Beirut to Jerusalem, an excellent read for anyone wishing to more fully understand the causes and effects of the region’s strife.
Listen | to Stars of Kuwait, a complete taste of Kuwaiti music.
Watch | Fires of Kuwait by David Douglas- shot in Kuwait after the Iraqi war. It follows a number of teams who fought to extinguish the hundreds of burning oil wells.
Eat | fuul- broad-bean paste made with garlic, olive oil and lemon; falafel- spiced, fried chicken balls; khobz—Arabic flat bread; houmos—chickpea paste with garlic and lemon.
Drink | coffee- served Arabic-style.
In a Word | Gowwa (hello, informal)
Characteristics | The oil industry; mosques; Kuwait Tower; Bedouin culture; colourful souks; cloth weaving; museums; coffeehouses; delicious Arab food; archaeological sites; the remarkably easygoing feel of Kuwait City.
Surprises | The temple and archaeological ruins on the island of Failaka; informal gatherings (diwaniya), usually at someone’s home, where Kuwaitis gather to chat