By Faten Omar

As part of our occasional series exploring various areas of Kuwait, Kuwait Times visited Hawally to learn more about this area. Hawally is part of the heart and spirit of Kuwait – one of the most populated areas with a diversity of residents from a range of nationalities. It is one of the most important commercial areas in the country, located around 7 km from Kuwait City. The area was settled in 1907 after the discovery of a well called Huliya (sweet), because of the sweetness of its water.

Hawally is the hub for most computer and phone-related products in Kuwait, as it has a large number of commercial complexes. The most important complexes in Hawally are Al-Muhallab Complex and Al-Rehab Mall, which is one of the oldest shopping centers in the country. The area is also home to Qadsiya Sports Club, one of the most famous football teams in Kuwait.

Before the 1991 Gulf War, Hawally was known as a Palestinian enclave, though this has changed considerably since the invasion and liberation. Hawally is now home to a variety of nationalities from across the Asian and Arab worlds.

Ali Hesham, a 22-year-old Egyptian, said Hawally has a lot of positive aspects. Most areas are nearby, which you can reach easily within 30 minutes. “People come to this area to experience the multicultural vibes.”

Hesham added that although Hawally has many advantages, it also faces some issues. “Hawally is always crowded and there is no place for parking. There are a lot of schools, so you need to leave very early in the morning because it may take one hour just to reach your destination if you get stuck in traffic. Also, the streets are so bad that your car can get damaged,” he said.

Streets are iconic in Hawally. Nearly everyone in the country knows Bin Khaldoun street – computer and mobile phone hub and Tunis street, home of the Hawally park, the Dawar Sadiq roundabout and the white Sabeika masjid. Countless citizens and expats were born in Dar Al Shifa, remember parts of their youth through the hangouts in Hawally malls and going to Bayan Bilingual School.

For Maia Hattab, a 29-year-old Palestinian, Hawally is her birthplace. “This is my area, where I have spent a lifetime. I think it is hard to get used to another place as you can find everything in Hawally.” She added that Hawally is a good area for those who seek a dynamic place full of life. “Hawally is considered the liveliest area in Kuwait, where you will find everything minutes away.

Schools, restaurants, cafes, malls and more are present in the area, but Hawally needs serious care. The roads need better maintenance, healthcare centers need to be developed and buildings should be for families only, as bachelors are everywhere now,” she told Kuwait Times.

Abu Bakr Muhammad, a 38-year-old Palestinian who works in a company in Hawally, said traffic jams on all streets have made life harder. “Hawally has many exits, but these are still not enough. It takes me more than an hour to reach the company’s headquarters, even though I’m a resident of Hawally – imagine if I live in other areas!” He added that people in Hawally need more outdoor activities. “We need good parks and good running trails to practice sports and spend time with our children outside, especially since the weather is much better now.”