Kuwait City is one of the most modern cities on the Arabian Gulf. Today the metropolitan is still an oasis in a land of desert plains with excellent museums, new beach resorts, extravagant restaurants, modern shopping complexes and marinas.
The State of Kuwait is situated in the northeastern area of the Arabian Peninsula, at the tip of the Persian Gulf, sharing borders with Iraq and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The country is a constitutional monarchy, with a parliamentary system of government. Kuwait City services as the country's political and economic capital.
Many neighboring countries often describe the state as the most liberal in the region. Its rich economy positions it at the forefront in the region, especially since Kuwait has the world's fifth largest oil reserves and is ranked as the eighth richest country in the world per capita.
Similar to neighboring GCC countries, the weather in Kuwait is fairly hot and humid, but the spring seasons (March – April) are usually warm and pleasant. Frequent winds and thunderstorms do occur during the autumn and winter seasons and the Shamal (a northwesterly wind common during June and July) has been known to cause dramatic sandstorms. Temperatures in the summer normally are northwards of 25-30 degrees Celsius.
Kuwait has a GDP of US 167.9 billion and a per capita income of USD 81,800. Its estimated exports in 2011 were at US 94.74 billion. Kuwait exports petroleum, petrochemical products, fertilizers and financial services and imports a wide range of products including food, textiles and machinery.
According to the 2008 Index of Economic Freedom, Kuwait is ranked the second most-free economy in the Middle East. Kuwait also has a strongly established banking system, where the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) is the largest bank in the country and one of the most prominent financial institutions in the Arab World.
The Kuwaiti government is constantly striving to decrease Kuwait's reliance on oil to drive their economic growth by utilizing general trading and tourism. The planned US$77 billion Madinat Al Hareer, also known as City of Silk, is considered to be the largest real estate development project in the Middle East. Kuwait is also undergoing exponential transformations in terms of its infrastructure, as it develops its current motorway system – with mega development projects such as Al Jahra and Jamal Abdul Nasser Roads – in addition to developing new railroad and metro networks.
The local currency in Kuwait is the Kuwaiti Dinar; known to be the highest valued currency unit in the world as of May 2012.
Kuwait's population is estimated to be around 2.7 million people, which includes 1.3 million non-nationals. Kuwait is known for its ethnic diversity: while 80% or the population is Arab, 9% of residents in Kuwait South and East Asian expatriates and 4% of which are Iranian.
The Kuwaiti local culture is largely shaped by Islamic and Arab influences, and this is prominently reflected on its architecture, music, attire, cuisine and lifestyle. One of the most distinctive traits of the Kuwaiti culture is the diwaniya – a large reception used for male social gatherings and which acts as an open forum to discuss issues, trends and happenings in Kuwait.