My Missing Countries

My Missing Countries
nauru . somalia .

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

BAHRAIN: Our Heritage, Our Wealth

A country without heritage is a country without tourism and identity. The memories of our towns and cities survive only if we remember, visit and retell their stories. This is the spirit behind the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities' dedication of the year 2015: to celebrate the deep-rooted and rich heritage of Bahrain under the theme "Our Heritage, Our Wealth". 

I visited and discover 21 sites that bear witness to the heritage of Bahrain's ancient civilization and traced back the paths of history, observing its architecture, breathe in its aroma, and take away stories to tell my friends and loved ones so that they too may discover this land.

Part of my journey are these postcards I sent to myself as a testimony of my experience discovering the rich heritage and culture of Bahrain. Postcards are a great way to give us great memories of the travel experiences one has.  Enjoy!


The archway present at the fort with my friends, 16 December 2015.

Located north of the island , Qal'at A; Bahrain (Bahrain Foirt) is the most important archaeological site in the Arabian Gulf and the first enlisted UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bahrain. The fort was built atop an artificial hill that was built over 4,000 years of continous occupation .  The site was once the capital of Dilmun and its ancient harbour.

Opening Hours:  8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Front entrance of the site museum.

Open to the public since 2008, the site museum display area consists of 5 exhibition hall organized around the world class museum with over  500 artifacts showcased and many interesting layers of its historical legacy have been revealed which is further highlighted with a well documented captions. 
Relax and unwind by the bay.

The museum is situated just by the sea shorelines. Its cafeteria offers a relaxing ambiance by he sea. , ideal not only to museum visitors but also for a quick rendezvous with any business clientele.
Back side. It was a a low tide the day I went to the museum.

Metal artifacts found in the tel were limited to copper pieces, fishing tools and a socketed spearhead; a workshop of 525 m (1,722 ft) size was also identified where copper casting two piece moulds and wax moulds were found. 

Backside of the site museum with my CGCF family, 16 December 2015.

Pots and vessels were also recovered. Pots were used for cooking, while the large vessels for food import from Oman and Mesopotamia. Artifacts found there indicates the location. These include a cuneiform inscription and hematite, both of which link to Mesopotamia; steatite bowls to Oman; and carnelian beads, a stone weight and a few potsherds to the Indus Civilization.


Al Khamis Mosque is the oldest mosque found on the island and, according to the local tradition, dates to the early 18th century AD. The structures that stand today are the result of several phases of rebuilding with columns and arches being added in the 10th century and a second minaret in the 14th.

                                                                                                                                                                                       Opening Hours:  8:00 am - 2:00 pm

The archeological site is accessible by public bus no. 19 from downtown Manama. This snap shot I took while I am waiting for my bus ride, across the street is the two iconic twin turrets of the Khamis mosque. Below photos show some interesting artefacts that can be found inside the compound. 
Entrance to the Khamis Mosque Visitors' Center.
The arcaded ruins .
Wooden Gateway to the Khamis Mosque.
Wooden Gateway to the Khamis Mosque.


A marvel in the desert, the Tree of Life is famous for surviving for over 100 years despite its existence with no source of water. Visitor's can observe this natural beauty from inside the visitors' centre, which includes information about the artefacts discovered at he site in addition to a small amphitheatre to host outdoor events.

                                                                                                                                                                                       Opening Hours:  8:00 am - 6:00 pm

The newly built Visitors' Center still needs some touches of green landscape to make it more appealing to visitors.  A solid pathway too is necessary as walking in the desert sand is a bit challenging.  Perhaps an enclosure too with an air conditioning system is a big plus, specially that the site is located in the middle of the desert.


Tree of Life 2018


Considered one of the most impressive exemplifications of Islamic architecture in the gulf. Shaikh Isa Bin Ali Al Khalifa House was built in the early 19th century and served as the residence of the late and the seat of his government. The house offers a unique insight into the royal life at that time.

                                                             Opening Hours:   Sun-Wed 7:00 am - 2:00 pm, Thurs 9:00 am - 2:00 pm, Fri 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Can someone please show me the way to Shk. Isa Bin Ali's House.

The location around the complex is very nice and located in the heart of the old town of Muharraq. Signs are every where as you walk around the historic center. Surprises abound at every turn for other white-washed old houses in the neighborhood. Its the best place to experience the old town of Bahrain.

Excuse me Sir, which way is to Shk. Isa Bin Ali's House?
Finally found.  The alley way leading to the entrance.
The Entry Door.

Don't forget to get a ticket by the entrance.

A quick glance on how big the complex is.

After paying for your ticket, as you enter and starts to explore the traditional house, you will be greeted by the huge courtyard in the middle of the complex.  The iconic and imposing wind tower in the background is a must for selfie fanatics.

A closer look of the wind tower by the roof deck.

WINDTOWER or wind catcher is a traditional Persian architectural element to creat natural ventilation in buildings. Windcatchers come in various designs: uni-directional, bi-directional, and multi-directional. Windcatchers remain present in many countries and can be found in traditional Persian-influenced architecture throughout the Middle East, including in the small Arab states of the Persian Gulf (mostly Bahrain and Dubai), Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This house was the seat of Bahraini power from 1869 to 1932 and its importance is reflected in the four different sections : Sheikh, family, guests and servants.

While the rooms are unfurnished, the different sections of the house are well captioned in English and a good half-hour could be spent rambling up and down the different staircases admiring the delicate arches, intricate wooden doors, courtyards and palm-trunk ceilings.

Highly recommended place for tourist and anyone interested in learning about Bahrain history and architecture. Would love to see a small museum inside the house showing personal belongings and photos of Shaikh Isa bin Ali. 

A gift shop is also needed in such place. A tour guide must also be present to explain each room for a more personal touch and experience.

Watch your step going up and down the complex. 
Ceiling detail.

A good half-hour could be spent rambling up and down the different staircases admiring the delicate arches, intricate wooden doors, courtyards and palm-trunk ceilings.

Beautiful carved wooden doors throughout the complex.

Shk. Isa house in Muharraq provides a glimpse of royal life in the 19th century with period architecture and wall carvings.

I took this selfie inside the seating room with the wall carvings in the background.  Notice that it is the same room (carvings) as with the postcard.

Photo at left is the exterior view of the seating room. Notice the arched opening above the doors and windows - a passive cooling technique for hot air to vent out.


In front of the Al Fateh Grand Mosque, 2015
Inside the mosque court yard, 2015.


In front of the museum entrance, 2008.

In front of the museum main gate, 2016.


Bab Al Bahrain (Arabicباب البحرين‎‎, Bāb al-Baḥrayn literally Gateway of Bahrain) is a historical building located in the Customs Square in Manama's former central business district. It marks the main entrance to the Manama Souq. Designed by Sir Charles Belgrave, adviser to the Emir and completed in 1949, Bab Al Bahrain once stood close to the water's edge. Due to extensive land reclamation in the later years, the sea is located a few kilometres north.


Government Avenue, which runs alongside Bab Al Bahrain, and the new highway that leads to the causeway to the 
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were built on reclaimed land. The Bahrain Financial Harbour has been constructed on further reclaimed land.


The monument itself was refurbished in 1986 to incorporate 
Islamic architectural features.The monument essentially consists of a huge arch, below which runs a road, which is often referred to as the entrance to the Manama souq (marketplace).


The photo gallery under the archway shows images showing the remarkable transition of the monument through the ages.

Today, the ground floor now houses the tourist information office and a handicrafts shop. This visitors' center serves as a valuable source of information regarding cultural tourism sites around Bahrain, and houses a display of archaeological artefacts.

Within proximity near the monument are major banks and business establishments. Recent addition is the 26 storey Rotana Hotel - shown in the background.

My visit to Bab Al Bahrain (2015)


Beit Al Qur'an (Arabicبيت القرآن‎‎, meaning: the House of Qur'an) is a unique museum, nestled within a magnificent building decorated with inscriptons of Arabic calligraphy. This site showcases a significant collection of Quranic manuscripts and scriptures dating back to the seventh centurry. The museum hosts an exhibitinal space for islamic teaching.

The complex's exterior designs are based on an old fashioned 12th-century mosque.
[7] The entire complex itself comprises a mosque, a library, an auditorium, a madrasa, and a museum that consists of ten exhibition halls. A large stained glass dome covers the grand hall and mosque.

My visit to Beit Al Qur'an (2015).

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