•Official name: Kuwait
•Capital: Kuwait City
•Area: 17,820 square kilometers (6,880 sq mi)
•Population: 3.6 million
•Head of state: His Highness the Amir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
•Languages: Arabic (Kuwaiti dialect). English is also commonly used.
•Climate: It has a desert climate with dry, hot weather for the majority of the year.
Living in Kuwait
Kuwait is in a stage of rapid modernization. New high-rise buildings are filling the skyline and large real estate projects are constantly being developed. As much as it is becoming more metropolitan each day, it is a still a tradition rich country. Kuwait offers the comfort of an old culture with the advancement of an innovative, modern-day society.
Kuwait has an extensive, modern and well-maintained network of highways. Roadways extended 5,749 km, of which 4,887 km is paved. On major highways the maximum speed is 120 km/h. Since there is no railway system in the country, most of the people travel by automobiles. Bus services are provided by private company Citybus and state-owned Kuwait Public Transportation Corporation.
As of 2007, Kuwait's population was estimated to be 3 to 3.5 million people, which included approximately 2 million non-nationals.Kuwaiti citizens are therefore a minority of those who reside in Kuwait. The government rarely grants citizenship to foreigners to maintain status quo.In 2008, 68.4% of the population consisted of expatriates,making the country the 4th highest ratio of expatriates of the world.
The adult literacy rate in 2008 was 93.9%.Kuwait is directing its attention towards Inclusive Education, which provides opportunity to all children, irrespective of their social class, including children with special needs. Kuwait education system is marked by several achievements in recent years.
The influence of Islamic and Arab Culture on its architecture, music, attire, cuisine and lifestyle is prominent as well.The most distinctive characteristic of local Kuwaiti culture are diwaniya that is explained below. Briefly, it involves large reception rooms used for male social gatherings attended mostly by family members and close friends.
While, unlike neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the Islamic dress code is not compulsory, many of the older Kuwaiti men prefer wearing dish dasha, an ankle-length white shirt woven from wool or cotton while the minority of women wear abaya, black over-garment covering most parts of the body. This attire is particularly well-suited for Kuwait's hot and dry climate. Western style clothing is very popular among the youth of Kuwait.
Seafood has been the mainstay of the Kuwaiti diet for centuries.The Arabs in the Persian Gulf region played a crucial role in the spice trade between India and Europe and spices have remained an important ingredient of Kuwaiti cuisine. Traditional Kuwaiti cuisine includes machboos diyay, machboos laham, maraq diyay laham which borrows heavily from South Asian cuisine and Arab cuisine. Imawash is another popular dish. As in other Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Kuwait takes part in the tradition of Qarqe'an during the month of Ramadan.
Before the discovery of oil, pearling formed a crucial part of Kuwait's economy. Pearl fishery, known as ghaus, suffered decline after the advent of Japanese pearl farming. However, Kuwait's pearl industry laid the foundation of its rich maritime history. Dhows, large wooden ships made from teak wood imported from India, became an indistinct part of Kuwait's maritime fleet and dhow building is still practiced in this Persian Gulf state.
Kuwait's architecture is largely inspired by Islamic architecture. The most prominent landmark in country, the Kuwait Towers, were designed by Swedish architect Sune Lindström and are a unique blend of traditional minaret and modern architectural designs. The National Assembly of Kuwait, another famous landmark building, was designed by the famous Danish architect Jørn Utzon and completed in 1982.