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  Visit and enjoy Bahrain

Bahrain offers diverse opportunities for visitors and residents, from dolphin watching trips, shopping, visiting the Bahrain International Circuit, dining, to visiting ancient historical sites and museums. The recently renovated Bahrain Fort, for instance, is a World Heritage Site and a ‘must’ for every visitor to the Kingdom.

Historical sites
For history buffs, there is the rich heritage of the ancient civilisations which populated the island, with many temples and burials mounds to see:

Bahrain National Museum
Bahrain's National Museum which houses many of the ancient treasures dating back as far as the Dilmun Era – then spend a day visiting 4,000-year-old sights and immerse yourself in the authentic Arabian experience.

Bahrain Fort
Bahrain Fort, on the island’s North coast, was built in the 14th century but excavations have revealed it was built on the site of Dilmun settlements, dating back to 3,000 BC.

Recently renovated, and with new lighting at night, the Fort is an outstanding example of Bahrain’s varied and ancient history. Bahrain Fort, known in Arabic as Qalat Al Bahrain, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.

Bahrain Fort Museum - opened in February 2008
The first building comprises an exhibition hall and a child learning and training room whereas the second is made up of a conference hall, a cafe overlooking the sea, offices, a technicians suite and a dormitory for archeologists.

Al Fatih Mosque
The Al Fatih Mosque is Bahrain’s largest mosque. The huge domed building houses the National Library, which opened in 2006. The mosque itself was built by that late Sheikh Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifa during the 1990’s.

The Khamis Mosque
The Khamis Mosque is believed to be the first mosque built in Bahrain. It is considered to be one of the oldest relics of Islam in the region, and the foundation of the mosque is believed to have been laid as early as 692 AD.

Arab Fort
The Arab Fort is a 15th century fort in Arad. It is built in traditional Arab style. It is situated very close to the Bahrain International Airport, and having been extensively renovated, it is an impressive sight at night. It is believed that the Omani’s used the fort briefly during the occupation of Bahrain during the 1800’s.

Manama Souq
Manama Suoq is a bustling marketplace full of traditional as well as modern shops. It is located in the centre of the city, near Bab Al Bahrain. The market is a perfect place to buy traditional products, with everything from spices, fabrics, kaftans to dried fruit and nuts.

The Gold Souq is also worth a visit, with all the gold hallmarked and pure. The only gold that can be purchased is 18 and 21K, as 10 and 14K are not usually accepted as being gold!

Qal’at Al – Bahrain
This is an archaeological site composed of an artificial mound created by human inhabitants from 2300BC up until the 1700’s. It once served as the capital of the Dilmun civilization and more recently as a Portuguese fort. On top of the 12m high mound, there is an impressive Qal’at Al – Burtughal, which is the Portuguese fort.

Sheikh Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research
Sheikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, a well-known intellectual in the early part of the 20th century. The centre, which is home to research centre, a library and a lecture hall opened in 2002. This building today hosts a series of rotating lectures, exhibitions and recitals by prominent writers, philosophers and artists from all over the world.

Bin Matar House: Place of Memory
The Bin Matar House is the latest in a series of projects by the Shaikh Ebrahim Center focusing on the restoration of traditional Bahraini houses associated with historic Bahraini families and leading cultural personalities.

The house was designed by the well-known Bahraini architect Mussa Bin Hamad and built in 1905.

It was used by Salman bin Hussein Matar as the venue for his permanent "majlis" (a room similar to a salon, used to entertain family and guests).

By the 1940s, it was used a clinic by the famous physician Dr. Bandar Kab, and from the fifties to the eighties was used as the centre for the Eslah Club.

Until recently, the building lay empty and in uninhibited, ready to be demolished to make way for a new construction.

Today, the ceilings of the house are made of a combination of palm leaf and wood beam and the walls and floors have been authentically retouched.

Barbar Temple
This is an archaeological site located in the village of Barbar. Three temples have been discovered there, the oldest dating back to 3000BC. The temples were thought to have been constructed to worship gods, as it contains two altars and a natural water spring. During its excavation tools, weapons, pottery, and many small pieces of gold were discovered.

Dilmun Burial Mounds
When a Danish group excavated the city, they found articles dating back to around 4100 – 3700 BP. Each chamber usually contained 1 burial, but some housed many and some contained none. Inside the chambers many different articles were uncovered including pottery, ivory and copper weapons.

Riffa Fort
Built in 1812, it offers splendid views across the Hunanaiya valley. Riffa was the home of the Government in 1869, and so was very strategically placed. It is one of the few places in Bahrain where you can really experience the effects of the wind tower.

Iqra House
Iqra ("read" in Arabic) House is a small children’s library. The space is a renovated traditional Bahraini house that still maintains its original architecture but has been renovated with a modern twist. The library has several reading rooms and a computer lab. Schools and families with children can make great use of the place by bringing in their students to read there constantly.

The Kurar House
The Kurar House used to be a handicraft center for local crafts by women. It is now a renovated house for reproducing the unique local embroidery, and is open for the public to see women creating their unique embroidery on clothes and selling them on site.

Beit Ebrahim Al Arrayed (House of Ebrahim Al Arrayed)
The house of the Bahraini poet and intellectual Ebrahim Al Arrayed who lived there for 30 years was restored as a cultural centre with exhibition rooms, a library and spaces for lectures and public events. The house as it stands right now mantains its original fascade and some rooms have been restored but remain faithful to their original form. The rest of the house, including the extension at the back, was rebuilt using contemporary materials but overlaid with traditional finishes. The restoration preserves original features of the house, such as the main entrance and recesses in the walls.

The Coffee House
Due to open on April 2nd, this café within the context of a traditional Bahraini home is as much about showcasing the tradition of Arabic coffee, as it is a place to relax and lounge after a day of sightseeing in the neighborhood, which has become a centre of restored classical and traditional Bahraini homes.

Bahrain is home to unique and varied flora and fauna. You can learn more from the Arabian Wildlife magazine. Visit website >

Tree of Life
Out in the middle of the desert about 2 km from Jebel Dukhan. - with no visible source of water to sustain it - stands the Tree of Life. This mesquite tree has been growing for more than 400 years, and is one of Bahrain’s most recognised national symbols. The Kingdom is also famous for its date palms, which are visible all over the island.

Dolphin Watching
Take a boat trip and you can watch the dolphins and manatees playing in the warm Gulf waters, and see local fisherman head out in traditional wooden dhows to catch the prized local hammour - a type of grouper. Dolphin watch trips take place three times daily, and cost BD6 for adults, BD3 for children under 12 years. Contact +973 1770 0677.

Pearl Diving
Bahrain is also famous for its pearls – and you can try your hand at pearl diving and maybe take home one of these natural gems of the sea. Bahrain Yacht Club (+973 17 700 677) and the Al Bandar resort (+973 17701201) both offer scuba diving.

Bird Watching
The Kingdom and the Hawar Islands in particular, are a haven for native and migratory birds including flamingos, bulbuls, ospreys and sooty falcons. Any twitchers are strongly advised to take the 20km boat trip to the Islands. Boats depart from Ad Dur Jetty, at 10am daily and bookings can be made by calling +973 1729 0377.

Al Areen Wildlife Park
This is a conservation project for Arabian indigenous species including the oryx. It is a sanctuary for more than 500 species of animals and birds, and since opening has attracted migratory species of birds in ever greater numbers. Close to the Bahrain International Circuit and the newly opened Banyan Tree hotel, it’s well worth a visit for budding naturalists of all ages. The park is open from 8am-4pm, entrance is BD1 for adults, 500 fils for children under 15. For more information contact +973 17836116.

Horse racing
Arabia is of course famous for its horses. The national racecourse at Al Sakhir hosts races every Friday from October to March. The grandstand holds up to 3,000 spectators and entry is free, although visitors should be reminded that betting is prohibited.

Horse riding
For anyone wanting riding lessons or an occasional hack, the Twin Palms Riding School (+973 39566809) and the Dilmun Club (+973 17690926), both in Saar, are good places to start.

Major Websites
Government Websites
LMRA - Evisa - Bahrain Investment Centre - Bahrain Investment Warf - Bahrain International Investment Park -
Municipalities Affairs & Agriculture - Ministry of Health - Electricity and Water Authority ministry - General Directorate of Traffic -
Ministry of Education - Ministry Of Industry and Commerce - Bahrain Center for Studies & Research -
Department of Legal Affairs - Tenders Board - Ministry of Works - Department of Legal Affairs - Ministry of Labour
Central Informatics Organisation - Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence - Ministry of Interior Bahrain eVisas
Ministry of Interior - Anti Money Laundering Unit (AMLU), Bahrain - Ministry of Finance - Directorate General of Customs Bahrain
Ministry of Housing, Municipalities and Environment, Bahrain - Ministry of Finance and National Economy, Bahrain
Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research - Civil Service Bureau Bahrain - Bahrain Urban Indicators Programme
Economic Development Board (EDB) - General Organization for Social Insurance - Bahrain Institute of Public Administration -
Civil Aviation Affairs - University of Bahrain - Ministry of Foriegn Affairs -

Important Contact Numbers

Cost Guard Ph: 17770000 General Directorate of Nationality Passport Ph: 17399777
Health Ministry's Food Control Department Ph: 17288888 Labour Ministry's Inspection Hotline Ph: 17870176
People Traffic Hotline Ph:17870196


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