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A glimpse into Kuwait culture
February 24, 2016, 4:52 pm
Traditional Ardah dance

For a country of such small size, Kuwait boasts a very broad and rich cultural heritage that traces its origins to centuries-old traditions. With strong pride in their tradition and culture, Kuwait has made special efforts to retain many of its historical artifacts and antiques, while also promoting modern cultural endeavors.

Folklore:Kuwait’s cultural identity is based to a certain extent on the country's ancient folklore, which in turn is a broad-ranging mosaic of emblematic land and sea tales, riddles, and proverbs. In 1956, the Folklore Preservation Center was established in an attempt to collect, record, and classify Kuwaiti folklore, as a way of assuring that this piece of Kuwait's historical culture will forever be maintained and hold a prominent place in the traditions of today.

National Council for Culture, Arts, and Letters: In 1974, the NCCAL was founded as the country's first real, definitive organization for cultural planning, with the task of promoting, developing and enriching intellectual and artistic production.  The council provides a suitable environment for the enhancement of arts within Kuwait, and is responsible for disseminating news and information about the fine arts, aswell as for the preservation and study of the country's national heritage.  


Museums: Kuwait has about 50 different locations where the arts and antiquities are housed and preserved. The most prominent of these is the Kuwait National Museum which began functioning way back in 1957. The new National Museum, established in 1983, is in an iconic building along the seafront and houses much of the country's antiquities, and also exhibits collections of different forms of contemporary art. Besides having a lecture hall and library, it also provides the public with a sophisticated planetarium, with old and modern astronomical devices, maps, and manuscripts.  

Also, the Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyyah (The Museum of Islamic Arts) has a collection of more than 20,000 items of rare Islamic works, dating back twelve centuries to the rise of Islam.  It contains a specialized library of several thousand books in different languages on Islamic history and heritage.

Music and dance: As a trading and pearling center, Kuwait attracted foreigners who left their music with the inhabitants, while the Kuwaititraders brought back music from East Africa and India.
Ardah dance, a traditional dance involving the use and skill of the sword, accompanied by the rhythm of drums and poetry reading is very famous.  The Samri, Khamari, and Tanboura are all dances and traditions that are performed at family and social gatherings, and weddings.

Theater: Kuwaiti drama troupes have won numerous prizes and awards all over the world, and several theatrical companies exist throughout the country.  Some examples of these are the Gulf Theater, the Popular Theater, and the Kuwaiti Theater.  In 1973, the Ministry of Information established the Higher Institute for Theatrical Arts to prepare future artists in the field of theatrical arts and ethics, and to promote widespread theatrical awareness and appreciation.


The Formative Arts: Kuwait has received international recognition for its formative arts and has also established its own Society for Formative Arts.  Several Kuwaiti artists have held exhibitions of their work both locally and abroad. The State has made an attempt to patronize the arts by designating ten thousand Kuwaiti Dinars annually for the selection and purchase of paintings by Kuwaiti artists.


Architecture: Kuwaiti culture embodies a variety of different modes of art and expression, one of them being in the country’s architecture. The main characteristic feature of this architecture is the same quality that can be used to describe almost all aspects of Kuwaiti life and culture: it is a mix of old and new, traditional and modern, modest and extravagant.  Few houses and buildings remain today that are authentic examples of the original architecture of Kuwait.
The traditional Kuwaiti house consisted of a central courtyard, with a series of rooms built around this quad. These houses were usually simple in structure, but were heavily adorned with ornaments, paintings and mosaics.
Kuwait exhibits many impressive modern buildings such as the Ministry of Justice building, and the National Assembly building. Another masterpiece is the Kuwait Towers, the national symbol of the land, which can be seen from most angles within Kuwait City and the areas around it.

The largest tower holds two large spheres, one above the other. The top and smaller one houses an observation deck with a cafeteria and rotating platform that gives visitors a full panoramic view of Kuwait City and the Arabian Gulf every half hour. The lower and larger sphere accommodates a full-fledged restaurant as well as cafes and space for holding seminars and training sessions.

The second tower is a water reservoir with a capacity of over 3.75 million liters that provides water to the towers and its surrounding gardens. The third structure is simply a long pointed electricity tower that illuminates the other two towers and the surrounding grounds with 96 concealed spotlights. The Kuwait Towers are recognized all over the world as being the dominant sight in Kuwait.




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