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Author Topic: Historical places in Bahrain  (Read 9260 times)

November 22, 2013, 04:13:26 AM on

Offline Cleo

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Bahrain is a modern country today and not everybody knows that it is really very ancient place where people lived. Thousands of years ago there was an existence here.

Let's discuss historical places in Bahrain and what do we know about the history of this wonderful country.

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Historical places in Bahrain
« on: November 22, 2013, 04:13:26 AM »

November 26, 2013, 04:13:16 AMReply #1 on

Offline alex7xl

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Below are the most interesting historical sites in Bahrain:

1 Ancient burial mounds:



Considered one of the largest graveyards in the world, 170,000 mounds punctuate the landscape between Hamad Town and A’ali and are a stark reminder of Bahrain’s rich history. Dating back to around 3000 BC, when the entire human population of the world is estimated to have been only 30 million, the burial mounds predate the Great Pyramid of Giza by five centuries. Some of the most impressive mounds can be found near A’ali village and are thought to contain the remains of the Dilmunite royal families. Although a significant number of the tombs were looted in ancient times, only a small fraction have been properly excavated in the modern age. The mounds remain under threat from property developers.

2 Saar digs:

Although the exact location of Dilmun, a civilisation referred to in the writings of ancient Iraq, has never been confirmed, Bahrain lays a pretty strong claim to having been one of its focal points. Not least because the archaeological digs at Saar, which unearthed an entire 100 by 150 metre village, date from that period. Active from the third millennium BC, the Saar digs prove the existence of an organised society at that time. More organised, some may say, than the one in which we live now.

3 Diraz Temple:

Situated in the village of Diraz along the Budaiya Highway, the Diraz Temple still remains something of a mythic site in Bahrain thanks to the fact that excavation on the site was discontinued, for no clear reason. Unearthed by a British expedition in collaboration with the Directorate of Archaeology between 1973 and 1975, the temple is unique in the region because of the use of huge cylindrical columns, which sets it apart from the temples of Mesopotamia. Estimated to have been constructed sometime in the third millennium BC, the base of the cylinders protrude an impressive 60cm out of the ground.

4 Barbar Temple:

 The discovery of the Barbar Temple remains one of Bahrain’s most significant archaeological finds. Although no one is quite sure which god the temple was erected in honour of, when the Danish expedition in 1954 uncovered it, it was clear that it was of huge historical value. Mesopotamian in style and dating back to the third millennium BC, the temple has a number of distinctive local characteristics as well as being similar in style to those found in Iraq. For those who like historical gore, the pen in which animals were kept prior to their sacrifice is clearly discernible.

5 Bahrain National Museum:

Founded in 1988 at a cost of $30 million, the Bahrain National Museum is the keeper of Bahrain’s 5,000 years of history, and is an absolute must for anyone interested in the archipelago’s past. Although the museum is fascinating in every facet, its Dilmun-era collection is its true treasure. Pottery and bronzes line the exhibition cases and are a potent reminder that, despite all of our technological advancement, our sense of aesthetics hasn’t changed much at all.

6 Natural pearls:

It’s not without reason that Bahrain is called the ‘Pearl of the Gulf’. Apart from being a hugely important and strategic trading centre, Bahrain possesses one of the world’s richest oyster beds. At one time 90 per cent of all Bahrainis were involved in the trade, which prospered for thousands of years. The industry collapsed in the late 1920s thanks to the Japanese flooding the market with cultured pearls, from which it has never recovered. However, Bahrain remains one of the few places in the world in which natural pearls are still harvested and sold, the Gold Souk in Manama being one of the best places on the planet to find them. Those looking for a monument to the trade can find one on the notorious Pearl Roundabout in the city centre.

7 Bait Al-Qur’an:

A museum dedicated to the Islamic Holy Book, the Qur’an, the building was founded in 1990 and exhibits a number of rare manuscripts dating from the eighth century. With a library containing books in Arabic, English and French about Islamic history and the Holy Book, and an auditorium in which prominent Islamic scholars are invited to speak, the museum is a forum for Islamic thought. Of particular note is the central stained glass dome.

8 Al-Khamis Mosque:

 A testament to the rapidity of the uptake of the Muslim faith on the island, Al-Khamis Mosque is believed to have first been constructed around the year 692 (though some dispute this and put the year somewhere in the 10th century) making it one of the oldest relics of Islam in the region. Although the structure was modified in subsequent centuries, the site is adorned with Kufic script and some faded murals and is one of the highlights of Islamic history in the Gulf.

9 Currency Museum:

The Bahraini Dinar is one of the strongest currencies in the world and also one of the youngest. Replacing the Gulf Rupee, the first Dinar was spent in 1965 and is the latest chapter in the long history of currency and trade in the country. The Currency Museum, part of the Central Bank of Bahrain, is a haven for numismatists and contains a couple of the oldest Islamic coins in existence. The museum will become even more relevant when Bahrain adpots the GGC common currency.

10 Bahrain Fort:

A site actually dating back nearly 5,000 years, the area of the Bahrain Fort (Qal’at Al Bahrain) was first inhabited sometime around the third century BC, and was thought to be the capital of the Dilmun civilisation on the island. After thousands of years of continuous inhabitation, in the 16th century the Portuguese came along, bricked it off and built an impressive fort. Bahrain’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, there is an informative museum situated alongside it.

11 Arad Fort:

Built in the 15th century in typical Arabic style, the fort came into its own during the brief Omani invasion at the beginning of the 19th century. Located on Muharraq, the fort has been extensively restored and now acts as one of the focal points of Bahrain. Best seen at night, when it is illuminated from all sides.

12 Tree of Life:

With no apparent water source, the Tree of Life stands alone in the Bahraini desert and is reckoned to be well over 100 years old, and may be as old as 300. A species of mesquite, the tree is the camel of fauna, able to withstand long periods of drought without any apparent dehydration. Although some scientists reckon it must be tapping into an underground water source, this doesn’t explain the utter lack of any vegetation for miles around. A national metaphor for the resilience of the Bahraini character, local legend has it dating back to the Dilmun period.

13 Riffa Fort:

Built by Sheikh Salman bin Ahmed, the fort was built in 1812 and was the seat of power in Bahrain until 1869. Like most of Bahrain’s historic sites, it is believed to have been built on a much earlier fort dating from the late 17th century. Thanks to rigorous restoration efforts, the fort gives a fantastic insight into the way in which the monarchy used to live.

14 Manama Souq:

If ever there were an architectural palimpsest in Bahrain, the Manama Souq would be it. Winding roads, sprawling shops and crowds of people, Manama Souq is one of the most authentic souqs in the Gulf and, unlike some, little effort has been made to prettify it for tourists. Good news if it’s authenticity you’re after. Bad news if you are lost and in need of a toilet or taxi.

15 Sheikh Isa bin Ali House:

The residence of Sheikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa, the ruler of Bahrain between 1869 and 1932, this Muharraq icon is a great example of the 19th century architecture of the Gulf region. Comprising of four main sections (the family wing, the Sheikh’s wing, the guest wing and the attendants’ wing), the walls are covered in intricate Islamic bas relief and demonstrate the restrained opulence of the royal families of the region prior to the discovery of oil.

16 Siyadi House – Muharraq:

Most of Bahrain’s pearl traders these days live in comparative squalor when compared to the former residents of Siyadi House in Muharraq, which was built by a well-known Bahraini pearl merchant at the beginning of the twentieth century. Looking like a fledgling fort from the outside, the inside is a wonderland of engraved walls and geometric design. The house has recently been restored and is one of the country’s historic highlights.

17 Bahrain International Airport:

 It may not be much in comparison to Dubai’s massive terminal building, but Bahrain’s International Airport is the region’s oldest. In 1932, a Handley Page HP42 named Hannibal flying between Delhi and London landed on the airstrip, making Bahrain’s airport the first of its kind in the Gulf. From the 1950s BOAC (the forerunner of British Airways) ran regular services to Karachi, Singapore, Hong Kong and Sydney, and in 1950 Gulf Air was formed. Although the airline is currently struggling, it was once the airline for the entire Gulf region.

18 Bab Al Bahrain:

 The Bab Al Bahrain is one of the most prominent buildings left by the British during their time in Bahrain. Built overlooking the waterfront (today, thanks to land reclamation, it is a good 10-minute walk to the coast), the building was designed by Sir Charles Belgrave in 1945. It originally housed government offices, though today it is better known as the gateway to the Manama Souq. In 1986 the building was refurbished to make it more Islamic in style.

19 First Oil Well and Oil Museum:

On October 16 1931, oil started spurting from a spot just below Smoky Mountain, Bahrain’s highest point. The discovery was to change the face of the Gulf region, and came not a minute too soon: just a couple of years before the pearl market had crashed. Today this nodding donkey is one of the country’s premier tourist attractions, and is comparatively small when compared to the gigantic impact it eventually had. There is also a small museum here dedicated to black gold, though most people will want to head down to the financial harbour to see the true legacy of hydrocarbons in the country.

20 St. Christopher’s Cathedral:


Bahrain has long been tolerant of different religions and cultures, and is one of the few places in the Gulf region where you can find a church. St Christopher’s Cathedral caters to the Anglican community and is another relic of British colonisation. In the centre of Manama and relatively low-key in design, the cathedral is in the diocese of Cyprus and is similar in style to the religious architecture of the Mediterranean.

21 Bahrain National Stadium:

Despite the fact Bahrain was unlucky against New Zealand last month, Bahrain’s football team is still the best in the Gulf. Set to become a landmark, the Bahrain National Stadium was constructed in 1982 and has been refurbished and expanded numerous times. It can now hold 25,000 people, over two per cent of the country’s population.

22 King Fahd Causeway:

Although construction of the causeway began in 1968, it was not until 1986 that Saudis began rolling off the causeway and into Bahrain. Costing $1.2 billion, and using 350,000 metric tonnes of concrete and 47,000 metric tonnes of reinforced steel, the bridge was the first land connection between Bahrain and its neighbours. A Bahrain-Qatar Friendship bridge was announced in 2008, while plans for a cross-GCC rail link surfaced recently, a decision about which will be made shortly.

23 Al Fateh Mosque:

One of the world’s biggest mosques and by far the most prominent in Bahrain, 7,000 worshippers can pack into this landmark building near Juffair at any one time. Although during prayer times the mosque is closed to non-Muslims, at other times of the day Al Fateh is open to tourists.

24 Bahrain International Circuit:

While Gulf Air did its best to put Bahrain on the map in the latter half of the twentieth century, it was the Bahrain International Circuit’s turn from 2004. The host of the Bahrain Grand Prix, the island’s biggest sporting event, around 600 million people watch Formula One drivers battle it out on the track to a packed crowd. The fact that the event generates around 2.5 per cent of the country’s GDP also makes it something of a rival to the famous First Oil Well.

25 Sheikh Isa National Library:

Despite the fact that the average Bahraini reads for pleasure for less than seven minutes a year, the country’s National Library is one of the biggest in the Gulf. Attached to the Al Fateh Mosque, the library currently holds over 70,000 volumes though plans are afoot to increase this to a quarter of a million. Meaning the nation’s reading habits are not determined by the availability of masses of reading material.

26 Bahrain World Trade Centre:

Thanks to Bilbao, every city in the world has spent the past decade or so scrambling for an iconic building. Until 2008, Manama was all boxy blocks and prefab-looking flats. Thanks to the Bahrain World Trade Centre, the country now has two giant shards of glass to look up to. Or, as some locals like to see it, two fingers pointing upwards in the direction of its competitor, the Burj Dubai.

27 City Centre Mall:

 Those people who like to complain there is nothing to do in Bahrain need only sidle into one of Bahrain’s shopping malls to see that you can do practically anything in Bahrain, so long as it’s shopping. Opening its doors earlier this years, and with Wahooo Water Park situated on the roof, City Centre Mall is where the weekend crush is at.

28 Durrat Al Bahrain:

One of Bahrain’s survivors in terms of building projects, Durrat Al Bahrain has just opened its doors to its first residents. Looking from space like something vomited at the southern end of Bahrain island, this series of fish and horseshoe-shaped reclaimed islands offer some of the best residential units in the entire country. Although the development has got some ways to go before it is fully operational, we have it on good faith that living there is a dream.
And two for the future...

29 Villamar Towers:


With construction well underway, Villamar Towers, part of the Bahrain Financial Harbour, will soon be one of the most enviable addresses in the country. With a unique twisting structure, the towers will form the centrepiece of the waterfront development. A mix of residential and commercial buildings, the project is likely to give the Bahrain World Trade Centre a run for its money.

30 Diyar al Muharraq:

 If you haven’t yet heard of Diyar al Muharraq, you soon will. Bahrain’s biggest ever reclamation project off the coast of Muharraq is set to transform the island’s residential prospects and give the country the one thing that is sorely lacks: a beach. The focal point of the project is a Miami-style sand strip, while the expected population of this 12 square kilometre development comes in at 130,000, which will make it equal in size to Manama when it’s completed around 2025. The first residents are expected to move in late 2011.

from http://www.timeoutbahrain.com/
« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 04:19:49 AM by alex7xl »

November 28, 2013, 08:47:11 AMReply #2 on

Offline Anna

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The Dilmun Burial Mounds are ancient necropolis areas on Bahrain island dating back to the Dilmun (an ancient Persian Gulf civilization ~3000BC) and later eras. Known since ancient times as an island with a very large number of burials, the (originally) quite a number of square kilometers of mounds were said to be one of the largest cemeteries in the ancient world. The cemeteries are concentrated in the north of the island, on the hard stony areas slightly above the arable farming soils – the south of the island is mainly sandy and desert-like. Recent studies have shown that the estimated/approximately 350,000 ancient grave mounds could have been solely produced by the local population over a number of thousands of years. The graves are not all of the same era, or of exactly the same styles, and can vary considerably in size in different areas of the moundfield. Research, under the auspices of the Bahrain National Museum (with the Bahrain Historical and Archaeological Society taking a keen interest), is still continuing, to establish a firm timeline for all these variations and continuations, as well as considering the implications for the society or societies that produced them.



A Danish group in the 1950s was excavating at Qal'at al-Bahrain, the capital city of the Bronze Age, when they opened some tumuli and discovered items dating to around 4100–3700 BP of the same culture. Many others began to excavate more of the graves, providing a view of the construction and content on these graves.

Each of the tumuli is composed of a central stone chamber that is enclosed by a low ring-wall and covered by earth and gravel. The size of the mounds varies, but the majority of them measure 15 by 30 ft (4.5 by 9 m) in diameter and are 3–6 ft (1–2 m) high. The smaller mounds usually contain only one chamber. The chambers are usually rectangular with one or two alcoves at the northeast end. Occasionally there are additional pairs of alcoves along the middle of the larger chambers.

Although the chambers usually contained one burial each, some contain several people and the secondary chambers often contain none. The deceased were generally laid with their heads in the alcove end of the chamber and lying on their right sides. The bodies were accompanied by few items. There were a few pieces of pottery and occasionally shell or stone stamp seals, baskets sealed with asphalt, ivory objects, stone jars, and copper weapons. The skeletons are representative of both sexes with a life expectancy of approximately 40 years. Babies were generally buried at and outside the ring-wall. The average number of children per family was 1.6 persons.

Attempts to protect the burial mounds have run into opposition by religious fundamentalists who consider them unIslamic and have called for them to be concreted over for housing. During a parliamentary debate on 17 July 2005, the leader of the salafist Asalah party, Sheikh Adel Mouwdah, said "Housing for the living is better than the graves for the dead. We must have pride in our Islamic roots and not some ancient civilisation from another place and time, which has only given us a jar here and a bone there."



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December 06, 2013, 06:33:47 AMReply #3 on

Offline Anna

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Bahrain Fort




The Qal'at al-Bahrain (in Arabic: قلعة البحرين‎), also known as the Bahrain Fort or Fort of Bahrain and previously as the Portugal Fort (Qal'at al Portugal). This is an archaeological site located in Bahrain, on the Arabian Peninsula. Archaeological excavations carried out since 1954 have unearthed antiquities from an artificial mound of 12 m (39 ft) height containing seven stratified layers, created by various occupants from 2300 BC up to the 18th century, including Kassites, Portuguese and Persians. It was once the capital of the Dilmun civilization and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.



The archaeological finds, which are unearthed in the fort, reveal much about the history of the country. The area is thought to have been occupied for about 5000 years and contains a valuable insight into the Copper and Bronze Ages of Bahrain.[4] The first Bahrain Fort was built around three thousand years ago, on the northeastern peak of Bahrain Island. The present fort dates from the sixth century AD. The capital of the Dilmun civilization, Dilmun was, according to the Epic of Gilgamesh, the "land of immortality", the ancestral place of Sumerians and a meeting point of gods.

The site has been termed as Bahrain's "most important site in antiquity". The first excavation at the site was carried out by a Danish expedition between 1954 and 1972, and later by a French expedition from 1977.Since 1987 Bahrain archaeologists have been involved with this work. The archaeological findings have revealed seven civilizations of urban structures beginning with Dilmun empire, the most important ancient civilization of the region. The Danish expedition revealed that it was a notable Hellenistic site.



You can read more about Bahrain Fort on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahrain_fort
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Re: Historical places in Bahrain
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2013, 06:33:47 AM »

May 19, 2014, 02:56:21 AMReply #4 on

Offline Anna

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Have you visited some of these places?
May be you can recommend some others?
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