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Shwedagon Pagoda. Yangon, Myanmar Lotus Temple, New Delhi, India
Abraj Al-Kuwait, Kuwait - Leading Landmarks
417    Dibyendu Banerjee    11/02/2021   

Conveniently located in the heart of the City of Kuwait, and standing on a promontory into the Persian Gulf, Abraj Al-Kuwait or the Kuwait Towers are the last group of the three slender towers in the nationwide network of Kuwait Water Towers system of 34 towers, collectively known as the mushroom towers.

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Exclusively designed to make a difference in the bay’s skyline, considerably different from the other five groups of towers, and combining a program to store 317,832 cubic feet (9000 cubic m) of water with a component of public facilities, the Kuwait Towers, considered as a landmark and symbol of modern Kuwait, were officially inaugurated in March 1979.

abraj al kuwait kuwit

Designed by the Danish architect Malene Bjorn as a part of a massive water distribution project, the Abraj Al-Kuwait, comprising an area of 409,028`60 sq feet (38,000 sq m), reflects an artistic blending of the traditional Islamic design and modern architectural theme, and are often compared with the blue-tiled mosques and slender minarets of Iran, Turkey, Samarkand, and Bukhara.

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The group of towers is a composition of three spikes of different heights set out of the points of a triangle, inside the circular parameter of a green landscape base.

abraj al kuwait kuwit

Constructed of concrete, in pure white, around forty-one thousand enameled steel discs in shades of blue, green, and grey, covered the spheres that look like the domes of mosques. While the discs are arranged in spiral patterns around the spheres, the tip of each tower, covered with stainless steel and acts as a lightning arrestor, resembling the minarets of the mosques.

abraj al kuwait kuwit

The tallest of the three towers with a height of 614 feet (187 m), carries two spheres. While the lower half of the larger sphere serves as a water reservoir of 158,916 cubic feet (4500 cubic m), the upper half contains an open-plan restaurant connected to a banquet hall, complete with an interior garden.

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The second sphere which rises to 404 feet (123 m) above sea level with two interior levels, is mostly covered by aluminium trusses fitted with triangular glass pieces that allow a full view of the city, sea, and desert. Equipped with a 360° rotating platform, it completes a full turn in every 30 minutes, and contains a café.

abraj al kuwait kuwit

The 482 feet (147 m) tall second tower, consisting of one sphere, is devoid of any café, restaurant, or observation deck and exclusively serves the purpose of a water reservoir. The smallest of the three towers, the 328 feet (100 m) tall third tower resembles an elegant white needle and houses a floodlight system that illuminates all the three towers.

abraj al kuwait kuwit
The observation Deck

With its three tall towers, Abraj Al-Kuwait represents an outstanding creative contribution to the architecture of the 20th century and a symbol of Kuwait's modernization. Unfortunately, the towers were severely damaged during the Iraqi occupation of seven months that began on 2 August 1990. During that period, when about 1,000 Kuwaiti civilians were killed and more than 300,000 residents fled the country, the Iraqi soldiers deliberately shattered the towers’ electrical utilities and wrecked interior facilities besides causing damage to the towers’ exteriors with firearms.  Nevertheless, the damage of the towers, estimated to be 75 %, was promptly repaired,  and the Kuwait Towers were officially reopened to the public on 26 December 1992.

Shwedagon Pagoda. Yangon, Myanmar Lotus Temple, New Delhi, India
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Author Details
Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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