Life in the Furnace: Living in Kuwait, the Hottest Country on Earth

by Megan
June 27, 2023
Imagine living in a place where summer temperatures routinely exceed 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), making it feel as though you're living inside an oven. Welcome to Kuwait, a small, oil-rich nation situated on the Persian Gulf, recognized by meteorologists as the hottest inhabited country on Earth. Here, extreme heat is not a temporary discomfort but a constant reality shaping every facet of life.

Living in Kuwait, where the sun is relentless, and high temperatures are as predictable as the day itself, requires a considerable amount of adaptation and resilience. The extreme heat influences the daily routines, architecture, clothing, and overall lifestyle of the country's residents.

For starters, life here follows a unique rhythm shaped by the climate. During the sweltering summer months, many Kuwaitis switch their routines to nocturnal mode. The hustle and bustle in markets and public places often start late in the evening and continue well past midnight. Many businesses open their doors in the early morning, close for the afternoon, and then reopen in the evening, a practice common in many hot countries known as a "siesta."

In this environment, hydration becomes a critical part of daily life, as the risk of dehydration and heatstroke is ever-present. Locals and expats alike learn to carry water bottles wherever they go and seize every opportunity to stay in the shade or indoors during the peak heat hours.

Architecturally, Kuwaiti buildings are designed to withstand and mitigate the scorching temperatures. Modern homes and buildings typically feature high-tech air conditioning systems, and traditional construction methods include high ceilings and thick walls to keep interiors cool. Windows are often tinted or covered with curtains and blinds to prevent the strong sunlight from warming up the indoors.

Clothing is another aspect where the heat leaves its mark. Traditional Kuwaiti attire is surprisingly well-suited to the climate. The dishdasha, worn by men, and the abaya, worn by women, are usually white or in light shades and made from breathable fabrics, providing some respite from the heat.

Despite the relentless heat, life in Kuwait is vibrant, filled with rich culture and traditions. Indoor recreational facilities, including shopping malls, indoor parks, and cinemas, are common hangout spots, offering respite from the heat. The country's cuisine is another cultural highlight, with an array of Middle Eastern and international foods widely available.

Living in Kuwait, or any extremely hot country, is indeed a challenge. But it's also a testament to human adaptability. It's about finding ways to not just survive but thrive amidst the adversity of an inhospitable climate. And while the heat may be unforgiving, the warmth of the local people and the richness of the culture make life in Kuwait a unique and worthwhile experience.