Arab Fund Building

Kuwait City

Although not strictly open to the casual caller, the impressive Arab Fund Building, with a host of exceptionally beautiful rooms, is worth the trouble of gaining access. Call first to request an appointment and explain that you wish to see the building’s interior, and you’ll be given a guided tour by one of the employees.

The gravity of the exterior belies the light and airy interior, designed in accordance with Islamic architectural principles of integrity of space, decoration and function. The magnificent eight-storey atrium with wooden lattices, opening onto a transparent corridor or an exquisite hidden majlis (meeting room), is an exciting reinterpretation of a familiar theme. Traditional craftsmanship from around the Arab world is represented in lavish concoctions of ceramic, carpet and woodwork in one of the most extraordinary expressions of postmodern eclecticism in the Gulf.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kuwait City attractions

2. Al Maqsab Gate

1.54 MILES

This refurbished, simple city gate once used to enter Kuwait's walled city is around a century old. Although the wall has come down, similar gates all…

3. Al Jahra Gate

1.64 MILES

City gates once lined Al Soor St – one that remains is Al Jahra Gate, at the centre of where Al Soor St meets the First Ring Road. Despite the gate's…

4. Contemporary Art Platform

1.85 MILES

A huge modern space hosting a permanent collection and regular exhibitions featuring Kuwaiti artists, plus occasional international names, talks and panel…

5. Dar Al Athar Al Islamiyya

1.89 MILES

This exceptional cultural centre has stunning galleries that contain some of the highlights of the world-class Al Sabah Collection, part of which was in…

7. National Assembly Building

2.11 MILES

The official seat of Kuwait's parliament with its distinctive canopy – designed to evoke the image of Bedouin tents – was the brainchild by Jørn Utzon,…

8. Al Shamiya Gate

2.25 MILES

When Kuwait City was protected by a wall, gates such as this one allowed folks to enter and exit while the wall protected the city from attack. Around a…