Failaka – The abandoned Kuwaiti Island


In 2005, I worked in Kuwait. Perhaps there was more to Kuwait than I had known about, but at that time, there was nothing much to do other than smoke shisha at the many ‘coffee shops’, and shop, shop, shop. Then one day, I read about Failaka Island, which had been completely abandoned during the Gulf war (1990). There was a boat running to the Island on weekends. This island was by far the most interesting Kuwaiti experience for me.

Failaka Island belongs to Kuwait. It is 20 km off the coast of Kuwait City in the Persian Gulf. The name ‘Failaka’ is thought to be derived from the ancient Greek “fylakio” it means “outpost”. 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.

Here are some of the photos:

Arriving by boat

playground in school yard

school yard

looking over to the mosque

The museum

fountain

Inside the mosque

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