Aerial view of a coastal city in KuwaitArea:
17,818 sq km (6880 sq miles).

Population:
2,107,195 (1999).

Capital:
Kuwait City. Population: 28,859 (1995).

Geography:
Kuwait shares borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia. To the southeast lies the Persian Gulf, where Kuwait has sovereignty over nine small islands (the largest is Bubiyan and the most populous is Failaka). The landscape is predominantly desert plateau with a lower, more fertile coastal belt.

Language:
Arabic, but English is widely understood, especially in commerce and industry.

Religion:
95 per cent Muslim (mostly of the Sunni sect), with Christian and Hindu minorities.

Time:
GMT + 3.

Electricity:
220 volts AC, 50Hz; single phase. UK-type flat 3-pin plugs are used.

Telephone:
Full IDD is available. Country code: 965. Outgoing international code: 00.

Mobile telephone:
GSM 900 and 1800 networks. Network operators include Mobile Telecoms Co and National Mobile Telecommunications Co.

Internet/E-mail:
Cybercafés throughout Kuwait provide public access to e-mail and Internet services. ISPs include Gulfnet International (website: www.kems.net/) and Global Net Kuwait (website: www.globalnet-center.com) and QualityNet (website: www.qualitynet.net).

Telegram:
24-hour telegram services are available at the Ministry of Post and Telegraph Offices, Abdullah Al Salem Square, Kuwait City, but must be handed to the post office (opening hours: Sat-Wed 0700-1400; Thurs 0700-1200).

Post:
Airmail to Western Europe takes about five days.

Press:
The English-language newspapers are the Arab Times and the Kuwait Times. Although remaining loyal to the ruling family, the press enjoys a fair degree of freedom.