Kuwait is a West Asian sovereign Arab nation bordered by Iraq in the north, Saudi Arabia in the south and the Arabian Gulf in the northwest. The work ‘Kuwait’ has its origins in the Arabic word ‘akwat’, which on translation refers to a fortress built near water and its capital city also bears the same name, Kuwait city.
Owing to its strategic location, Kuwait is the cradle of ancient civilization and occupies the most sought after corners of the world which explains much of the migration of people towards the city and the state. While the commercially oriented are attracted to the city given its high income economy and huge oil reserves, the Bedouins treat it like an oasis in the midst of a sandy and barren desert where they can escape from the draught and enjoy the cool sea breeze.
It is the Kuwait International Airport which serves as the entry point to the city and the country and apart from being well connected to most of the major cities around the world, it also forms the base of the State-owned Kuwait Airlines and two private airlines both of which were found in Kuwait. Within the country, the extensive and well maintained network of highways ensures trouble-free transportation by buses, private cars and taxis.
It was as recently as 1961 that Kuwait gained independence from the United Kingdom and since then has experienced phenomenal economic growth courtesy the discovery of large oil fields which were discovered during the late 1930s. All was going well for the country until in 1990 when it was invaded by its neighbour Iraq. The seven months of Iraqi occupation were a nightmare for Kuwait ands came to an end only when the US-led military forces intervened and were successful in defeating the invaders. However, the retreating Iraqi army achieved its goal of destruction by setting ablaze all the oil wells on its way back thus causing irreparable damage to the country’s economy.
Although some of the scars of the conquest are still visible and painful reminders refuse to go away, Kuwait has done well on the development front with its capital, Kuwait city, now being counted as one of the richest cities of the world. With the Kuwaiti Towers looming high on the horizon, this city is a contemporary paradise with sky scrapers, luxury hotels, and boulevards and well tended gardens. It is a haven for shoppers as well thanks to the presence of many western style shopping centres as well as traditional oriental markets.