Saturday, July 6, 2013

#809 Failaka Island, Kuwait

One of THE things to see and do in Kuwait is go to Failaka Island. With a name that derives from the Ancient Greeks that lived here (fylakio means outpost), its position 20km off the coast is in the strategic Persian Gulf waters at the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Home to the Mesopotamians, the Dilmun civilization, as well the Sumerians, who left cuneiform texts on the island, and the Babylonians, not to mention the local kingdom of Characene based in the Bay of Kuwait. Alexander the Great passed through in 311 BC and the Greeks left ruins of a Hellenistic Fort and two temples, which are among the ruins from many eras including a Babylonian temple to Shamash. The Christian Nestorians were there during the Byzantine era, to be replaced by various Muslim empires. It has been known variably as Agarum, Ikaros, and now Failaka.

The Gulf War was particularly harsh with the residents being relocated to the mainland and the beaches being mined and the area used for target practice. Many building have been abandonned and still sit riddled with bullet holes.

On a more hopeful note, springtime is considered special due to its ecological difference from the Kuwaiti mainland, with budding flowers making an excuse for a city getaway. Perhaps not awe-inspiringly amazing, but definitely unique!
The other thing to see while on Failaka is the Camel Farm!

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