Traveling to a place you have never visited before, it is difficult not to have an image of the place in your mind before you arrive. So it was that, based on my many visits to other states in the Persian Gulf, and taking into account that Kuwait is one of the richest countries in the world, with oil reserves so big that wars have been fought about it, I had imagined to see a shiny new city when I opened my curtains hours after my nightly arrival. Instead, I saw towers in the blurry sky, cranes, and when I stepped outside, a blocked road and a construction site. Threading through the sand, I walked towards the seaside. A few low-rise buildings in groups around me, and behind the block of modern high-rise towers.
Standing out amidst the sandy surroundings, was a group of houses that somehow stirred my curiosity. When I got closer, I saw two-story buildings with wooden balconies, doors, and window shutters. I did not see anyone around, and decided to explore the inside of this little quarter. There are supposed to be the old city gates of Kuwait, which were constructed in the 1920s and which I would not see, and then, there still are patches of the old city of Kuwait amidst the development of modern parts of the city. It seemed I had found one such part. It soon turned out this part was particularly small, and I had seen all houses and narrow streets in a matter of minutes.
It was a peculiar place: I did not see a soul, the houses on the inside seemed still in use but at the same time, lifeless, while a row of houses on the outside turned out to be a cluster of restaurants and bars. I especially liked the old wooden window shutters, the colourful windows on top of doors, the carved wooden doors in decorated door frames, old dusty lamps on the walls. It was clear: these houses were not really old, but in Kuwait, everything is relative, and the age of this little area was distinctly higher than that of most other parts in the city. When I made my last round of the block, I finally met a person, and had a pleasant chat with an Indian who had set up a restaurant here. Finally, the place had a face now, and somehow made the picture complete. I could move on on my exploration of Kuwait.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Old Kuwait (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Old Kuwait.
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