Kuwait Towers © Touristic Kuwait
The Islamic Middle Eastern state of Kuwait, situated at the northwest extreme of the Persian Gulf, is somewhat overshadowed and overwhelmed by its neighbours Iran, Saudi Arabia, and especially war-torn Iraq. Nevertheless, the flat and featureless country is beginning to attract tourists and businessmen from the west, particularly Americans. Those visiting Kuwait today are imbued with a lust for adventure that has nothing to do with adrenalin-producing experiences, but rather a yen to explore a not too radical fundamentalist Muslim culture and witness a country undergoing post-war reconstruction.
Despite the turbulence of its recent history, Kuwait today is once again beginning to reflect its status as an oil-rich nation. In 1990 Iraq claimed Kuwait as its 19th province, but the Iraqis were expelled by a United States led alliance in a short war in 1991, and now the country is separated from its threatening neighbour by a wall along its border.
The ruined capital, Kuwait City, has risen from the ashes of war to become a buzzing metropolis with gleaming high rises, numerous luxury hotels and lush parks set along wide avenues. The city's major landmark is the Kuwait Towers, visible from the harbour where oil tankers come and go, docking alongside hundreds of cargo ships and pleasure craft. Kuwait is now regarded as a relatively safe destination with plenty to interest the traveller, not only in Kuwait City itself but throughout, from its arid desert plateau to the fertile coastal belt and the nine small offshore islands over which it has sovereignty.
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