Kuwait Islands

Kuwait Islands

 The state of Kuwait has many islands scattered across its shore. These islands embody history, culture and belonging to the country and today they sum up to nine jewels crowning its shore.

 1. Warbah

This island is basically a large mud flat that size up to 37 square kilometers, it faces Iraq near the mouth of the Euphrates River, a 100 meters off the northern Kuwaiti shore. Warbah sits north of Bubiyan island and has no permanent inhabitants, although the government maintains a coastguard post.

 2. Bubiyan

Is the largest island in Kuwait, located in the western side of the Shat Al Arab delta in the north-western corner of the Arabian Gulf, with an area of 863 square kilometers. Khawr Abd Allah seperates the island from the mainland from the northwest, and from the mainland in the southwest by Khawr as Sabiyah. The latter channel trends around the northern end of Bubiyan Island, separating it from Warbah Island. 5.4 kilometres northwest of Ras al Barshah, the southernmost point, Bubiyan is linked to the mainland by a concrete girder bridge over the Khawr as Sabiyah channel, 2.38 kilometers long, built in 1983, which is for military use only. During the Gulf War of 1991 the bridge was destroyed, but has been rebuilt, like Warbah, the island shares a muddy surface due to the river sediments coming from the Euphrates River.

 3. Miskan

is a small 750 square meters island and is to the south of Bubiyan Island. Miskan Island is devoid of any vital activity save a lighthouse managed by Ibrahem Bu-Rashid who lived in the island along with his family to guide ships sailing in the Gulf at night. Miskan shares similar geology Failaka; Medium to coarse sand in shore with coral reefs present at particular depths. Excavator James Silk Buckingham during his visit to what is now Kuwait in 1918 mention the island as "Motion" which, with localization, became Miskan.

 4. Failaka

is an island that belongs to Kuwait in the Gulf. The island is 20 km off the coast of Kuwait City in the Gulf. The name 'Failaka' is thought to be derived from the ancient Greek φυλάκιο(ν) - fylakio(n) "outpost".

During the Dilmun era (from ca. 3000 BC), which saw the establishment of neighboring Bahrain, the island of Failaka was already developing its own unique culture and religious pantheon. Worship of the sun appears to have been practiced. Human sacrifice may also have taken place.

At some point following Alexander the Great's initial advance through the region in 331 BC or in the period 324/3 BC when he returned to Mesopotamia, the ancient Greeks colonized the island, which they named Ikaros after the Greek island in the Aegean Sea and the mythical hero Icarus, apparently in the belief that the island had a similar shape of its Aegean counterpart. Some elements of Greek mythology were mixed with the local cults.

The island was inhabited through to the seventh or eighth century AD. It is unknown when the island was resettled in modern times.

Prior to the Iraqi Invasion, the island had over two thousand residents and several schools. The village of Az Zawr is situated near the middle of the northwest side of the island. It was the longest continuously inhabited location in Kuwait. During 1990 and 1991, the invading Iraqis depopulated the island, expelling all of its residents to the mainland. The Iraqi military mined the beaches and used the island's facilities and buildings for target practice. In 1991, the allied forces forced the Iraqi army forces occupying the island to surrender through bombing and psywar operations. The sewage system was destroyed and has yet to be fully repaired. Also, many old homes continue to sit empty and decaying; bullet holes can still be seen.

After the war, Failaka was cleared of mines, but it remains under military use. Nevertheless, Failaka Island is becoming a popular holiday destination from Kuwait City. The ferry Ikarus takes passengers out to the island.

 5. Auhah

is a small island belonging to Kuwait. It is 800 meters long by 540 meters wide, which corresponds to an area of about 34 ha, and is located 16 km south-east of Failaka Island, and 41 km from Salmiya on the mainland. Apart from a light-house and a small heliport, the island is uninhabited.

 6. Umm An Namil

(Translation: Mother of ants) is an island belonging to Kuwait, located within Kuwait Bay, in Arabian Gulf. It is known to be the site of several archeological finds, mainly from the Islamic era, and the bronze age. The island is at shortest, 600 meters away from the Kuwaiti mainland.

 7. Shuwaikh

also known as Qurain Island, and Akkaz Island, is a former island of Kuwait within Kuwait Bay. As an island, it resided about 1 kilometer away from the coast and was roughly 12,000 square meters in size. Shuwaikh Island is an archeological site with pieces dating back to 2000 B.C.. The "island" is now joined to the Shuwaikh industrial area as an extension via land bridge and therefore no longer exists as an island.

 8. Kubbar

is a sandy island of Kuwait in the Arabian Gulf, covered with shrub. It is located roughly 30 kilometers off the southern coast of Kuwait and 29 kilometers off the coast of Failaka. The island is nearly circular, with a diameter of 370 to 380 meters, corresponding to an area of about 11 ha. It is sandy, with low coasts and sparsely vegetated. The island is inhabited by various forms of wildlife.

Around six Iraqi soldiers killed in the Gulf War of 1991 lie buried on the island. Their graves are marked discreetly, in the Islamic manner.

Kubbar is surrounded by coral reefs and is therefore popular with scuba divers.

 9. Qaruh

is an island belonging to the state of Kuwait, which received its name from the large amounts of petroleum sediments in the area (known as Qar in Arabic). It is the smallest of the nine islands, and also the furthest island from the Kuwaiti mainland. It is located 37.5 kilometers away from the mainland, and 17 kilometers away from Umm al Maradim. The island is roughly 275 meters long by 175 meters at its widest (area about 3.5 ha. The island was also the first part of Kuwaiti soil that was liberated from Iraq during the Gulf War on January 21, 1991.

10. Umm Al Maradim

Is an island belonging to the state of Kuwait. It is located between Kuwaiti and Saudi territorial waters. The island is 1.5 kilometers in length and 540 meters wide area about 65 ha. The island is known to have deep waters surrounding it, in which large ships can safely anchor.