Bahrain – the pearl of the Persian Gulf

The Kingdom of Bahrain – an archipelago located in the Persian Gulf has long been a familiar destination for international tourists, attracting more than 2 million tourists annually. Bahrain has a total area of only 688km², but is considered one of 15 countries that form the “cradle of humanity” in the Middle East, an area with mild winters and long, hot, humid summers.

The Lonely Planet travel guide magazine describes Bahrain as a perfect destination with traditional Arab heritage and modern architecture, including many works of art dating back over 1,000 years . Dilmun civilization and scenic spots associated with history.

Many Arabs believe that once upon a time there was a paradise in the Persian Gulf. That legendary land is now Bahrain, which has 844km of coastline. Arabs see Bahrain as a high-class tourist area. They like to come here to enjoy the warm atmosphere, relax in luxury resorts, admire the breathtaking natural scenery or shop at the world’s cheapest gold markets.

The houses and streets in the capital Manama are spacious and modern with many shiny buildings. Impressive is the grandeur of the Bahrain World Trade Center, 240m high. This is the first structure in the world with the appearance of a giant wind turbine. The highlight of this project is three suspension bridges connecting the two towers with three extremely large wind turbines, providing electricity for the building. Prominent among the land surrounded by blue sea, Bahrain World Trade Center looks like a sail full of wind.

Bahrain - the pearl of the Persian Gulf
The streets of the capital Manama are spacious and modern.

As a developed country, Bahrain possesses modern infrastructure but still has strong traditional Arabic culture, and has a mixture of identities of Gulf countries. Bahraini people are friendly, funny and always warmly welcome visitors. They have a more open view of life than other ethnic groups in neighboring countries. Women in Bahrain are not restricted by customs as much as in neighboring countries, so they are quite free in life. Since the 1930s, Bahraini women have been allowed to vote.

Around 2,300 BC, the land of Bahrain was already a trading center for empires. From the sixteenth century to 1743, the Persian king Nadir Shah invaded and controlled Bahrain. Later, an emir here entered into a treaty with Great Britain, making Bahrain a protectorate of the British Empire. By 1960, Bahrain had claimed sovereignty and became an independent Arab emirate on August 15, 1971.

Before the development of the oil industry, scuba diving for pearls and planting dates was the main source of income for the people of Bahrain. The pearl mining industry has been an important contributor to the kingdom’s prosperity as early as the 1920s. Many say that the best pearls come from the Persian Gulf, especially in the surrounding area. around Bahrain. In 1980, the world witnessed an oil and gas boom, which brought Bahrain great benefits. Bahrain replaced Beyrouth as the financial center of the Middle East. Many buildings, great bridges and artificial islands are constantly growing, contributing to a modern and beautiful appearance for Bahrain.

Right in the center of Manama is Bab Al Bahrain (Gate of Bahrain) , built by the British in the 1940s. Previously, this work was built half on the sea, but due to the process of encroaching on the sea to expand. So now, from Bab Al Bahrain, it takes more than ten minutes to walk to the beach.

Bahrain - the pearl of the Persian Gulf
Bahrain World Trade Center as a sail.

This is the workplace of government agencies, offices of banks, financial groups, forming a key economic center, the busiest in Bahrain. The ground floor of the building is a tourist information office and a handicraft shop. Surrounding the outside of the building is a series of arched corridors, forming a path leading directly to Manama’s busiest central market.

Bahrain - the pearl of the Persian Gulf
A stall selling lamps at the Bab Al Bahrain flea market.

The National Museum of Bahrain is an interesting site, displaying all the archaeological remains discovered on this island nation. Al Fateh Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world, with a huge dome made of fiberglass, capable of receiving more than 7,000 worshipers at the same time. Inside the church there is also a national library, which has been open to the public since 2006. Nearby is the Bahraini royal palace, the residence of Bahrain’s king Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifah.

Bahrain - the pearl of the Persian Gulf
Al Fateh Grand Mosque.

In a strategic position on the Persian Gulf, Bahrain has long been in the sights of many empires. Perhaps that’s why the fortress is the preferred type of construction here.

Located on the North Sea coast, about six kilometers from the center of Manama, the fortress of Qal’at al-Bahrain is now an important archaeological site of the country. This is also a destination that attracts international tourists, especially those who are passionate about archeology. The largest fortress in the Gulf was built in the 3rd century BC, on a mound that the ancients worked hard to build. This is not only a symbolic image of the Dilmun civilization dating back more than 5,000 years, but also an important cultural and commodity exchange at that time.

Later, it was reinforced by the Portuguese with sandstone. Due to its special cultural values, Qal’at al-Bahrain has been recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural and historical monument since 2005. With its lively architecture and still preserved intact, this fortress is Bahrain’s most prominent attractions. Here, we had the opportunity to see the impressive stone works as well as admire the panoramic view of Manama with the best view.

Bahrain - the pearl of the Persian Gulf
A corner of the Qal’at al-Bahrain fortress.

25 kilometers from Manama, the beautiful Riffa fortress is a work built by Emir Salman Bin Ahmed Al Khalifa in 1812 entirely with locally available materials. Thanks to the strategic location at that time, this fortress was the place where the government apparatus ruled until 1869. Outside the fortress yard, there were many wooden benches, a great place for tourists to rest and take a look. Panoramic view of Hunanaiya valley.

Located near Bahrain International Airport , Arad Fort was built in the 15th century on the island of Muharraq, with the most typical Arab style. The fortress is connected to the mainland by the Sheikh Salman Isa causeway. According to historical records, this fortress was used by the Omanis during the occupation of Bahrain in the 1800s and was also a strategic gateway between Bahrain and Muharraq Island. Considered an important landmark by the government, the fortress was restored not long ago and is always lit at night to introduce visitors to its most distinctive features. Every week, on Thursday and Friday afternoons, traditional music shows take place in the fort’s front yard.

Bahrain - the pearl of the Persian Gulf
Arad Fortress glows under the lights.

Bahrain - the pearl of the Persian Gulf
The “Tree of Life” stands out in the desert.

South of Manama, where the Sakhir desert is arid, without water, is another unique symbol. It is hard to imagine that on the hot sand under the blazing sun, there exists a bare tree tens of meters high, whose branches are green and shaded on the ground. The tree is said to be about 400 years old. The mystery of survival in harsh conditions has made this tree a legend and has been named the “tree of life”. Local residents believe that this is really the place where the paradise garden is located and that makes about 50,000 tourists visit every year.