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May 17th 2015
Published: April 17th 2018
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So, the Arabian Gulf trip came around, and the first port of call proper was Kuwait City, the capital and indeed only city of any size in the small Arab State of Kuwait. Oil rich and blighted by an early 90s state of all-out emergency and conflict, Kuwait in the realm of today is an abode of peace, and with the right amount of planning, you too could enjoy the highlights of Kuwait City in the condensed time frame of a mere two days. The House of Mirrors was first on the agenda, and this could so very easily be the final word in all of the artistic statements which the country has ever been associated with. The majority of ground floor level of the building is adorned with fragments of mirrors, both inside and out to an artistic effect so striking that the visitor cannot help but admire the craftsmanship which has constituted the end product. The house's owner Lidia has produced areas of her home which effectively simulate the other-worldly, and the dramatic nature of the representation of the cosmos on the upper floor is destined to remain etched on your mind for quite some time. An area of Kuwait City known as Salmiya contains a fair few interesting reference points, along with retail therapy options, such as the Marina Mall, located just due west of the city's Scientific centre. Following the same stretch of coastline but some way further south, Messila Beach is adjacent to Messila water village, which is the city's second largest water park and a cooling-off option in a country with one of the world's highest annual average temperatures. Kuwait City's prime landmark must surely be the iconic Kuwait Towers, located in the far north-eastern point on the city, next to the city's largest water park. Heading west, Souk Sharq and the marina which it flanks are more neat touches, and the nearby mosque and Seif Palace are the kinds of landmarks which make the city more of a varied Arabian city setting. Similarly, the city's Liberation tower is among the city's tallest, and futuristically has its space needle pointing skywards, symbolising the kind of wealth generated by offshore oil over the years of those resources having been exploited. In relative proximity is the city's chief souk, Mubarakiya which, although not the gulf's greatest of its kind, represents the sort of exotic tourist magnet which would no doubt delight any visitor in search of Arabian culture. For my money though, the city's most impressive retail zone must surely be the gigantic shopping mall known as the Avenues, a collection of 800 plus stores, with an opulent feel to rival pretty much any other mall in the region. The choice of hotel for this trip was the Times Square Suites hotel, located across from the American School, and around the back of a commercial area known as Bin Khaldoun Street, which makes for pleasant browsing on an evening, as well as containing a plethora of dining options and a gold souk which is definitely worth a look-in. This was a snapshot of modern-day Kuwait, and the points of interest sampled along the way went to prove that this much-overlooked travel destination is worthy of consideration, and makes an ideal companion piece to a visit to another nearby nation in the Arabian Gulf.

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