Kuwait is an oil-rich Arab country with an area of 17,818 sq km situated at the north-western tip of the Arabian Gulf. Its territorial waters include nine islands and a coastline that is 290km long. The country is bordered on the north and west by Iraq, on the south by Saudi Arabia and on the east by the Arabian Gulf. After the Iraqis were driven out in early 1991 and reconstruction work began on the ruins of Kuwait City, the government is meticulously re-creating the country's pre-invasion appearance - right down to the pink marble steps at the entrance to Kuwait City's leading five-star hotel. With the war a fading memory, Kuwait is once again the prototypical oil state, and travellers looking for a relaxed entry into the Muslim world can expect beautiful mosques, souks and other sandy traces of bygone Bedouin days.