• Nicola Chilton

Kuwait, a Photographic Tour

Updated: May 9, 2020

Kuwait is one of the few destinations on earth that doesn't have a major tourism industry, but that doesn't mean it's not worth visiting (everywhere is worth visiting). I've been lucky enough to visit on a few occasions, working on the opening of Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, home to some of the most beautiful contemporary hotel design I've ever seen, and hosting events during Ramadan. It's a place I've grown to love, for its people (I adore my Kuwaiti friends), its mid-century architecture (documented in the excellent book Modern Architecture Kuwait 1949-1989 published by Niggli), and for its Souq Al Mubarakiya where I have bought far too many abayas and kaftans, but when you're faced with the best selection in the world it seems silly not to. It's not really a walking city but I walk everywhere, so come with me now for a stroll through some of my favourite sights in Kuwait.


Liberation Tower in Kuwait

The 372-metre tall Liberation Tower, an icon of the city named to commemorate Kuwait's liberation in 1991 after the Iraqi invasion.


Empty souq Kuwait

Early morning during Ramadan. No one will be on the streets - or visiting the optician - for hours yet.


Kuwait Towers blue sky

The Kuwait Towers, part water tower, part restaurant, part observatory, and wholly fabulous. Designed by Danish architect Malene Bjorn and inaugurated in 1977, they also have a revolving cafe as all good 1970s observation towers should.


Early morning empty Souq Al Mubarakiya

Most of my visits to Kuwait have been during Ramadan, and I love walking around the souqs in the early morning when there's no one around. The pale light, the empty corridors, the symmetry all make for a very special time of day.


Souq Al Mubarakiya children's portrait studio

Portrait studio in the souq. If only it had been open.


Thanks Allies mural street art Kuwait

"Thanks Allies" - faded mural commemorating the 1991 liberation of Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion.


Kuwait Fishermen

Fishermen taking a break for a rest - and a good laugh - in the shade of their dhow.


Indian Saloon beauty salon Kuwait

Indian Saloon, for all your beauty needs.


Gulf Bank Headquarters Kuwait

The Gulf Bank Headquarters, designed by French architect Jean-Robert Delb with a mesmerising pre-moulded concrete facade.


Souq Al Mubarakiyah Kuwait street art

Sunny bench with trompe l'oeil window and flowers. It's also where I spent my last Kuwaiti dinar on a cup of saffron karak.


Fish market Kuwait

A couple of years ago I read a story in the news about vendors in a Kuwaiti fish market putting plastic googley eyes on their fish to make them look more "alive". I think it's safe to say that these fish come with their own eyeballs intact.


Coffee pot sculpture Dar Hamad Kuwait

Towering sculpture of dallah, or Arabic coffee pots, at Dar Hamad restaurant.


Sheraton Hotel Kuwait lobby

The lobby of the Sheraton hotel, built in 1966 and later renovated after being heavily damaged during the Gulf War, still manages to retain a feeling of retro elegance.


Falafel breakfast Souq Al Mubarakiya Kuwait

Local breakfast of champions - falafel, foul, cheese, olives, rose jam, all in a friendly little vintage cafe on the edge of the souq.


Light and shadow guest room Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait

Light and shadow putting on a show in my favourite suite at Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, with interiors by Yabu Pushelberg.


Kuwait parking garage

The desert light makes even the most mundane parking garage look like an example of stylish mid-century modern architecture.


Modern Architecture Kuwait book

If you liked some of the architectural photos here, this book is an excellent resource to learn where more great examples are around the city for your next picture walk.


You are here sign Kuwait

And here you are, in Kuwait. Thanks for coming along for the walk!

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