KUWAIT, Jan 13 – In two weeks’ time Kuwait is set to witness 100 years, since the opening of its first official post office, which was the home of the then British colonial administrator, currently known as Beit Dickson Cultural Centre.

The centennial celebration, precisely on Jan 21, was discussed in a lecture on the history of postal services in Kuwait, as part of Al-Qurain Cultural Festival activities, delivered by Mohammad Abdulhadi, chairman of the Kuwaiti stamp and coin collectors’ union – officially known as the Kuwait Philatelic and Numismatic Society.

Informal postal services began in 1775, during which, mail was carried in bags to Basra in Iraq and Aleppo in Syria, usually taking around 14 to 20 days to arrive, he said.

This was followed by a period from 1879 to 1904, when the Indian postal service was handling mail sent within Kuwait and abroad.

It was only in 1915 that the first official post office opened its doors, leading to the creation of the first stamp bearing the name of the country, yet also bearing the image of Britain’s King George V and the Indian currency – the rupee.

The Kuwaiti government assumed responsibility of postal services within the country from the British in 1958, releasing their first stamp that same year, followed by its administration of exterior services a year later, and Universal Postal Union membership the following year.

Kuwait’s 21st Al-Qurain Cultural Festival is hosting over 50 cultural and art events, until Jan 24, and is being sponsored by the Prime Minister, Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.