Sky high in the Kuwait Towers

The Kuwait Towers are iconic to this region. Think Eiffel Tower for Paris. Space Needle for Seattle. Sydney Opera House for Australia.

When we learned we were moving to this part of the world, the towers were some of the first images that popped up when I did my Google searches for Kuwait. They are as beautiful in-person as they appear online. They rise dramatically downtown, on the water’s edge, and can be spotted easily from along the Arabian Gulf Street, especially at night when they are brightly lit. We haven’t found a lot of Kuwaiti souvenirs and knick-knacks since moving here, but when we do, the towers are often featured. At one point, they were even pictured on Kuwait money.

Originally built in 1979, they had to be extensively repaired and refurbished after Saddam Hussein’s troops severely damaged them during the Iraqi invasion in 1990. The towers re-opened in December 1992. They were designed by female Danish architect Malene Bjorn and won the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1980. They are meant to capture design elements of both traditional Islamic architecture and modern architecture. (Credit for photo below to Wil.)

There are three towers. They are not only decorative but serve practical functions. The main tower is 187 meters high and has two spheres; the lower houses a water tank holding a whopping 4,500 cubic meters of water, while the upper include a rotating viewing deck which completes a spin every half-hour, and a restaurant. The second tower is 147 meters high and serves as a water tower holding 10,000 cubic meters of water. The third tower – which is the pointy one without any spheres – apparently is responsible for electricity and illuminates the two other towers.

Although we’d glimpsed them multiple times while out and about in the city, a couple weeks ago we decided to properly visit the towers on a bright and sunny Sunday. In the weeks leading up to Kuwait National Day on February 25, Kuwait flags were absolutely everywhere. The approach to the towers from the parking lot was no exception.

Here’s another view from a little closer, where you can see all three from top to bottom:

The entrance fee is 3KD (Kuwaiti dinar) per person, which is roughly $10. The ticket buys you access to the viewing deck, which is 123 meters high.

There are two levels to the deck. The elevator deposits you on the lower but it’s a short flight of stairs up to the second. The light and airy space offers views in every direction. A small cafe booth offers snacks and coffee so we enjoyed a bit of caffeine while standing at one of the glass tables on the rotating floor.

Looking down can be a bit dizzying but it was fascinating to get a bird’s eye view not only of the coast but also of Kuwait City’s skyline.

Although we stuck with coffee, there is also a Japanese restaurant and a buffet restaurant on site, which we may return at some point to try. I’m never one to turn down an opportunity to eat sushi and enjoying it while looking out at the Gulf sounds like a fun night out.

A number of restaurants are along the coast near the towers. You can spot a McDonald’s, a TGIFridays and a Cheesecake Factory within spitting distance. In the fall, I went to brunch at Dean & Deluca and took the photo below from their entrance.

I’m glad we finally took the time to get a sky high view of our new home. It never hurts to get a fresh perspective.