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My Missing Countries

My Missing Countries
djibouti . gabon . nauru . somalia . yemen

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!




QAL'AT AL BAHRAIN SITE


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

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.








TREE OF LIFE


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.



 



SHAIKH ISA BIN AL KHALIFA HOUSE


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.






AL FATEH GRAND MOSQUE


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





BAHRAIN NATIONAL MUSEUM




In front of the museum entrance, 2008.

In front of the museum main gate, 2016.


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