- Kuwait became a protectorate after Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah signed a treaty with the British 1899 to avoid being captured by Turkey.
- Kuwait is officially known as the ‘State of Kuwait’.
- The official language of Kuwait is Arabic, but English is also widely spoken and understood.
- The main ethnic groups in Kuwait include Kuwaiti, other Arab, South Asian and Iranian.
- Majority of the people in Kuwait follow Islam, followed by Christian, Hindu and Parsi religion.
- The currency of Kuwait is Kuwaiti Dinar.
- The capital of Kuwait is Kuwait City.
- Kuwait means “Fortress built near water” in Arabic.
- Kuwait follows the system of ‘Constitutional Monarchy’, with a Parliamentary System of government.
- Kuwait became an independent country, after the end of British Protectorate, on 19th June 1961.
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- Kuwait is spread over an area of approximately 18,000 sq. km of land, majority of which comprises of oil rich desert. This is the reason why the country has a total of less than 300 species of native flowering plants.
- Kuwait has the oldest parliament elected directly by the people among all the Arab states of Persian Gulf. However, almost two-third of the people living in the country can’t vote as they are not citizens of Kuwait
An Overview of Kuwait
Kuwait is a sovereign emirate, situated on the coast of the Persian Gulf. It stands bordered by Saudi Arabia in the south and Iraq in the north and west. Kuwait comprises of nine islands, where it exercises sovereignty, namely Auhha, Bubiyan, Failaka, Kubbar, Miskan, Umm Al-Maradim, Umm Al-Naml, Qaruh and Warba. Of these, Bubiyan is the largest one and Failaka is the most populous one. Kuwait is spread over an area of approximately 18,000 sq. km of land, majority of which comprises of oil rich desert.
Kuwaiti food is primarily based on the staple product of rice, and it is one of the smallest countries in the world.
Living in Kuwait
Alcohol is forbidden. Consequently there are no pubs or nightclubs or big music concerts. However, there are plenty of family entertainment options, restaurants, cinemas, cafes and private parties.
The expat community is tight-knit and makes for a very friendly way of life as you will regularly see the same people in a range of locations!
Shopping opportunities are wide-ranging and you can buy almost anything here ranging from cheap plastic gadgets at the 100 fils shops in the souks, to the high-end designer clothes in boutique stores at the Malls.
Beach club membership is very popular in Kuwait. These are an ideal way to meet people and make use of swimming pools, fitness classes, gym, beach and they also have facilities for children. Also there are public beaches run by the Kuwait Touristic Enterprises Company (KTEC), Messila Beach and Egaila Beach which have facilities such as shaded areas with tables, cafes, and showers, changing rooms, gardens and play areas for children.
Housing in Kuwait
If you are wondering where to live in Kuwait look at areas like Salwa, Salmiyah, Beach Road, Fintas and more. These are all very popular expatriate communities.
Salmiya is located 12 kilometers southeast of Kuwait City and is one of the largest areas in Kuwait consisting of both commercial and residential areas. Salmiya is arguably Kuwait's flagship district being a major cultural and commercial hub. It is well connected to the rest of the country having a multitude of significant highways and roads passing through it en-route to the capital, Kuwait City
Salwa (meaning place of the casuals) is a suburb of the Hawalli Governorate in Kuwait, bordering Rumaithiya to the north and Messila to the south. To the east (across Cooperative Road), it overlooks the Arabian Gulf. Like all suburbs in Kuwait, Salwa has its own government-run clinic and its own shopping center. This includes a supermarket and various restaurants (including Burger King, McDonald's and Starbucks etc.)
Jabriya is home to many foreigners who work in schools close by and it contains a large number of Kuwaitis. Houses in Jabriya are between 2 and 4 stories tall. From Jabriya, you can get onto the Fahaheel Expressway which leads to areas such as Bayan, Salwa, Rumathiya and Abu Halifa.
Al Ahmadi is a suburb of Kuwait founded in 1946 with the discovery of oil. It is the headquarters for the Kuwait Oil Company. Al Ahmadi in Kuwait is famous for its oil refineries and peaceful green surroundings. Locally, Al Ahmadi is called the 'home of KOC' because of the large number of Kuwait Oil Company refineries located here.
Ahmadi is a well established pretty town, with an American style grid layout and lots of green spaces. There are lots of older style villas here within compound areas with lots of gardens. It is very far from Kuwait City and the major shopping areas but close to the more traditional shopping area of Fahaheel.
Schooling in Kuwait
There are several American, British and Indian curriculum schools in Kuwait. Availability is limited and it is advisable to apply early.