Inside the Grand Mosque

Grand Mosque_02

During the National Day holidays a friend of mine arranged a trip for us to visit the Grand Mosque in Kuwait City. This was my second visit to the mosque and this time around I had a fish-eye lens in my bag to capture the enormous prayer hall inside.

Hajji Khalil Habash at the Grand Mosque

The guided tours are conducted by the group; “Western Perception of Islam” and our guide was a very knowledgeable gentleman by the name of Khalil Habash. You can see many videos on Youtube of the tour taken by tourists and here’s [a recent one].

The tour of the Grand Mosque is something that everyone living in Kuwait should take at least once. The rulers have spared no expense in creating this awe-inspiring and beautiful place of worship and it shows when you walk around the hall. Our guide, Mr. Habash, explained in great detail about the structure itself and its significance to both Kuwait and the Muslim world. We were a group of around 20 tourists from different countries and so the medium of communication was English.

Grand Mosque_10

This post contains photos taken with my D60 and also the GX1. On my first visit there I wasn’t able to capture the magnitude of the interior with my kit lens so on the second try I used a fisheye lens on my GX1 and that gave me satisfactory results.

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Tour of Liberation Tower

Lib tour 6

This weekend my wife and I went on a guided tour of Kuwait’s Liberation Tower. The trip was organized by Aware Center and we were lucky to get seats for the tour although we weren’t so lucky with the weather. As we approached Kuwait City it was clear that the haze was not going to clear up during our time there.

Lib tour 4

The guide took us to the third level where there’s a bridge that leads to the elevators that access the main tower. The tour would only go as high as 150 meters as there’s sensitive defense communication systems on the top levels and entry is restricted.

This is going to be a long post so click on through for more..

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20 FPS with the GX1

Iftar Cannon 2012

Last year I had posted about my first visit to Naif Palace to see the ceremonial firing of the Iftar Cannon. During my subsequent visits I managed to get some decent shots of the flash and smoke from the barrel. This time I wanted to try out my GX1’s high speed feature at 20 frames per second.

The results were really good and I got about 40 frames in 2 seconds and I combined them all into a short video clip.

My original post about the cannon  is [here] and my post about capturing gunfire is [here]

On [Youtube]

In case you were wondering about the camera setup;
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutter: 1/400
ISO: 6400
Release: High Speed @ 20 FPS

Chilling out in Kabd

I never really thought staying in Kabd would be a great experience. Up until a few weeks ago the mention of the place usually brought to my mind stories of women being kidnapped and taken there or street racers dying while attempting to breach the sound barrier in a rusty Datsun or Camry. Now that I think about it I had posted about the most dangerous places in Kuwait a couple of years ago and Kabd has the #5 spot.

Two friends of mine, VV and AKP, and I went scouting for a comfortable farmhouse for a weekend getaway and we were lucky to find the perfect spot. Rents in most of the places range from 70 KD a day to 100 KD but its up to you to bargain with the caretaker or the owner of the property. The place had all the amenities you’d find in a furnished apartment including water and gas connection and you just need to bring your own food and drinks supplies.

The farm houses are located on road 604 towards Sulaibiya and I’m surely going there again for another relaxing getaway.

Memorial Museum – Kuwait House for National Works

This museum has many names and I’ve heard it being referred to as ‘The war museum’, ‘Saddam Museum’, ‘Memorial Museum’ etc. The Kuwait House for National Works a.k.a Memorial Museum houses a grim reminder of the crimes committed the Iraqi regime during the invasion in 1990. You are greeted by a couple of surface to air (or some kind of anti-aircraft weapons) parked at the entrance and a very confusing signboard. Its like they couldn’t make up their minds on what to call the museum.

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Modern Art Museum – Kuwait

I’m coming close to the end of my museum series and the last couple of ones are probably my favorite. I read about this place in a Huffington Post article that called it a ‘hidden jewel’ so I just had to go find out for myself. Finding this place was easy since I was also in the area to visit the Maritime Museum. If you drive a little further beyond the Maritime Museum you’ll find yourself right in front of the Modern Art Museum. Location [Link]

Like the other places I visited I was the only person in the whole museum save for the security guard and a couple of cleaners and had the whole place to myself. I’m not a big fan of modern art but some of the pieces on display were really freaky (in a good way) and I’m surprised that in a conservative country like Kuwait there are so many artists with such tastes.

You may not understand what I’m talking about but imagine being alone in a silent place where you’re surrounded by monstrous sculptures that look like they might come to life any second. I didn’t take pictures of all the interesting items coz I want to you go there in person and see them for yourselves. All the pieces are clearly marked with the title and name of the creator. There are also benches laid out in every room so that you can take your time to admire the art or sketch them if you’re so inclined.

Entrance: Free
Timing: Sunday to Thursday 9AM-1PM and 5PM -8PM

The Dickson House Cultural Centre

This place has been on my list of places to visit for a while now and thanks to a little break I got last week I managed to cover Dickson House and a few other museums. Here’s some info about this house from Wikipedia[link]

“The British Political Agency in Kuwait was based in a house that had been built in 1870 for a Kuwaiti merchant. The Dicksons moved in to the house in 1929, and the building served as the British political agency until 1935. Dickson lived there until his death in 1959 and Dame Violet until the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, when she was evacuated to Britain. Sadly, Dame Violet died before the liberation of Kuwait. The house was ransacked during the invasion, but has since been restored by the Kuwaiti National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, and is now a tourist attraction. It is one of few surviving examples of nineteenth century Kuwaiti architecture, with thirty rooms on two floors.”

Here’s more information from Lonely Planet and Q8 Unplugged

Entrance is free.
Location: On Gulf Road, opposite the boat jetty at the Fish Market. Its the house on the main road with white and blue paint.
Timings: Saturday to Thursday 8:30-12:30 and 4:30-8:30
Friday 4:30-8:30


Kuwait Maritime Museum

The Maritime museum houses artifacts from the the rich seafaring heritage of Kuwait. The displays were neatly marked with descriptions both in English and Arabic. Although the museum itself is quite small there’s a lot of interesting pieces that will take your attention. During the course of my visits this was one of the better maintained museums that I’d seen.

The museum is located opposite Souk Sharq and you can see the Booms (boats) from the main road.
Entrance is free.
Timing: Monday to Thursday
8:30 to 12:30
4:30 to 8:30
Friday Morning off
Sunday off

Kuwait Planetarium

The planetarium is located inside the Museum complex. You’ll find signboards leading you to it once you enter the compound. I was hoping to catch the 12PM show and got there at 11:40 but they informed me that the last show was at 11 AM. Talk about a fucking disappointment. There’s nothing much else to see there, just a few displays with model satellites and space vehicles.

Entrance is free and show timings are as shown in the picture.

Kuwait National Museum

For my museum tour I decided to follow the list on q8living[dot]com and each post will cover one location. To make matters easier for me I’ll just post the text exactly as on the site while the pictures will be the ones that I took.

“The National Museum (Tel : 2451195/4) is located on the Gulf Road just south of the Parliament / National Assembly downtown. It was opened in December 1957. Looted and burned by the former Iraqi regime during the invasion, the museum is now restored and has been re-opened to the public – with many, but not all, artifacts having been returned from Iraq. In 1997, Muhallab II, the replacement for (and replica of) the magnificent trading dhow from the 1930s that graced the front yard of the museum before it was burned by the former Iraqi regime, was constructed on site and is now open to visitors.”

I was the only one in the museum at the time and it felt more like a House of Horrors tour than a museum visit. Here’s a video from 360Dewan. The entrance is free and you have to surrender your Civil ID at the front desk before they allow you in.
Timing: Monday to Thursday
8:30 to 12:30
4:30 to 8:30
Friday Morning off
Sunday off

Youtube [link]