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Study in Kuwait - About Kuwait




General Information

Area: 17,820 sq km
Water: 0 sq km
Land: 17,820 sq km

Population: 2,111,561
Note: includes 1,159,913 non-nationals (July 2002 est.)

Capital: Kuwait

Independence: 1961

Ethnicity/Race: Kuwaiti 45%, other Arab 35%, South Asian 9%, Iranian 4%, and others 7%.

Language: Arabic (official), and English is widely spoken.

Map of Kuwait
Courtesy of Google Maps

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Currency: Kuwaiti Dinar (KD)

Religion: Muslim 85% (Sunni 70%, Shi'a 30%), Christian, Hindu, Parsi, and others 15%.

Time: GMT + 3 hrs.

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz; single phase. UK-type flat three-pin plugs are used.



Kuwait shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. To the southeast lies the Persian Gulf, where Kuwait has sovereignty over nine small islands (the largest is Bubiyan and the most populous is Failaka). The landscape is predominantly desert plateau with a lower, more fertile coastal belt.


Due to the location of Kuwait in the Sahara geographical region, the weather of the country is characterised by long, hot and dry summers and short, warm and sometimes rainy winters. Dust storms almost always occur with a rise in humidity during summer.The highest temperature ever recorded was 52°C in July 1978, (making Kuwait the fourth hottest place in the world). The lowest temperature, -6°C, was recorded in January 1964. There is a wide variation of temperature, ranging from an average of 45°C in summer to an average of 8°C in winter. Such climate fluctuation is often accompanied by a change in the annual rainfall - which may vary from 22 mm one year to 352 mm the next.


Until the late 1970s only one well penetrated the entire Jurassic section of Kuwait. A few other scattered wells partially penetrated it. During the 1980s an appreciable number of deep wells revealed that the Jurassic sequence is inverted with respect to the Cretaceous sequence and that the main Cretaceous arches were sites of Jurassic sedimentary troughs. This new interpretation marks a revolution in the existing concepts for Jurassic oil exploration in Kuwait. One of the most effective methods for defining of Jurassic structures is the isopach of the Upper Jurassic Gotnia Formation. The main Jurassic reservoirs include the Najmah, Sargelu and Marrat formations which were detected as a result of the exploration activities during the 1980s. Selective stratigraphic and structural cross-sections reveal the stratigraphic relationships of the Jurassic sediments.


Government Structure: The Emir, who is selected by and from members of the ruling Al-Sabah family, holds exclusive executive power. The Emir appoints a prime minister and a Cabinet of Ministers. A unicameral National Assembly (Majlis al-Umma) with 50 elected members has a consultative role and prepares legislation (although the Emir has the power of veto). The Majlis serves a four-year term. At present only adult males are permitted to vote, although the next scheduled election in 2003 will extend the franchise to women. Political parties are banned.

Head of State: Jabir Al-Ahmad Al-Jabir Al-Sabah since 1978.

Head of Government: Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jabir Al Sabah since 1977. Gained full independence from the UK in 1961.


Heritage and Culture

Heritage and Traditions

Arabic, islam means submission and a muslim is one who submits to Allah's will. Kuwait's brand of Islam is not as strict as Saudi Arabia's, but the country isn't exactly liberal. The essence of Islam is the belief that there is only one god, Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet. It is the people's duty to believe in and serve Allah in the manner that is laid out in the Quran. Most Kuwaitis are Sunni Muslims, though there's a substantial Shiite minority. The official language of Kuwait is Arabic, but English is widely understood.

While not an ethnic group, Bedouin are archetypal Arabs: the camel-herding nomads who travel the deserts in search of food. From among their ranks came the warriors who spread Islam to North Africa and Persia 1400 years ago. Today Bedouin are found mainly in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, but their numbers are unknown due to their habit of wandering where no census-taker would dare. Cultural foundations do their part to preserve Bedouin art traditions, especially weaving, but the arts scene in Kuwait is otherwise fairly limited. The Bedouin loom is called Al-Sadu. Textiles are manufactured from sheep wool, dyed, then intricately woven.

Fuul, felafel and houmos are the three staples of the Middle East, and you'll find them at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fuul is a paste made from fava beans, garlic and lemon, usually served swimming in oil. Felafel is deep-fried balls of chickpea paste with spices, served in a piece of khobz (Arabic flat bread) with pickled vegetables or tomato. Houmos is cooked chickpeas ground into a paste and mixed with garlic and lemon. Arabic bread is eaten with absolutely everything and is also called aish, meaning 'life'. It's round and flat and makes a good filler. Main dishes are usually chicken, kebabs or meat and vegetable stews.

A lot of Kuwait's restaurants are Indian, which rarely have anything other than biryanis (a spicy rice dish) on the menu. Western fast foods abound. Coffeehouses (qahwa) are a great social institution in Kuwait. Forget about alcohol which is banned by Muslim law. Don't even try to smuggle in a bottle of your favourite drop; your bags will almost certainly be inspected on arrival.


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Telephone: Full IDD is available. Country code: 965. Outgoing international code: 00.

Mobile Telephone: GSM 900 and 1800 networks. Network operators include:

Mobile Telecoms Company,


National Mobile Telecommunications Company


Fax: Most hotels have facilities.

Internet: Internet cafes throughout Kuwait provide public access to e-mail and Internet services. ISPs include: Gulfnet International, Website: and QualityNet, Website:

Telegram: Telegram services are available 24-hours at the Ministry of Post and Telegraph Offices, Abdullah Al Salem Square, Kuwait City, but must be handed to the post office (hours: Sat-Wed 0700-1400, Thurs 0700-1200)

Post: Airmail to Western Europe takes about 5 days.

Press: English-language daily newspapers include: The Arab Times and The Kuwait Times. Although remaining loyal to the ruling family, the press enjoys a fair degree of freedom.

Radio Stations: BBC World Service, Website:

Television: A wide range of Arabic, English and other language TV stations are available in Kuwait.

Satellite TV: Star TV, Orbit and Showtime are some of the most popular networks available.


Source:   and   Lonely Planet

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