Kingdom of Bahrain: Travel treasures

The Kingdom of Bahrain – the island nation consisting of 33 islands – is a place that combines the best of the ancient world, with the best of the modern. For travellers with only a few days to spare, Bahrain’s compact size makes it a very convenient place to explore. Here’s are some of the Kingdom’s not-to-miss travel treasures…
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Bab al Bahrain

The historic Bab al Bahrain building complex is a gateway to the famous Manama Suq, which offers Bahrain’s most traditional shopping experience, where you can bargain for everything from natural-oil perfumes and incense, to rich fabrics, handicrafts and carpets, to abayas and jalabiyas, and much more.

Bahrain National Museum

After being inaugurated in 1988, the Bahrain National Museum has steadily established itself as a top-class cultural institute in the region. Its nine exhibition halls showcase artefacts uncovered from the numerous archaeological sites located around Bahrain – which collectively cover around 6,000 years of Bahrain’s history.

Block 338

Located in the heart of Adliya, Block 338 is a pedestrian quarter crammed with international restaurants, art galleries, designer boutiques and fashion stores – all making it the perfect place to spend an evening.

Qalat al Bahrain Fort and Museum

These days, Bahrain’s rich trading history is reflected in numerous archaeological sites, the most fascinating of which is the around 4,000 year old Qalat al Bahrain fort. The excavations done here over the past 50 years have revealed many fascinating findings – which are now brought to life in the on-site museum. Plus, the museum’s seaside café, with its stunning views over the fort, sea, and surrounding palm groves, makes a visit here ever the more enjoyable.

Bahrain International Circuit

So the 2019 Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix finished up a few weeks ago in late March. However, even when this epic international motor-racing event isn’t on the go at the Bahrain International Circuit, motorsport fans can still opt for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the circuit, and depending on availability, take a lap in a sports car around the track itself. There’s also a state-of-the-art karting facility here for wannabe racing drivers.

A’ali Burial Mounds

Amongst Bahrain’s most mysterious ancient remains are the burial mounds that dominate the landscape north of the island. These are unique in terms of sheer number and concentration, with the best preserved and most impressive being the royal burial mounds in A’ali. For something different, visitors can attend one of the local artisans’ pottery workshops here, and witness how these skilled craftsmen and women use some of the old burial chambers as kilns, to fireharden their pots.

Old Houses of Muharraq

At Muharraq, the former capital of Bahrain, there are many examples of magnificent, traditional-style buildings. The Shaikh Isa bin Ali house is Bahrain’s most impressive example of Gulf Islamic architecture, while the beautifully restored houses that make up the Shaikh Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research, along with others, all showcase different aspects of Bahrain’s rich heritage. Also, one of the oldest sections of the Muharraq – Suq al Qaisariya – offers an opportunity to learn about Bahrain’s age-old pearling industry on the recently established “Pearling: Testimony of an Island” project – a unique heritage trail showcasing the story of pearling in Bahrain throughout the ages.

Al Dar Island

Central to life in Bahrain for centuries, pearl diving has to be the quintessential Bahraini experience. These days, the beach resort of Al Dar Island offers a very special pearl diving experience – where you can experience how the divers of old went about collecting these natural marine treasures from the sea. From Al Dar Island, you can also go on dolphin watching trips, and a sunset cruise on a traditional wooden dhow.

Fly Oman Air! Oman Air flies direct Muscat to Manama/Bahrain. To view the full flight schedules, visit www.omanair.com

Online Info! Planning a trip to Bahrain? For more info on what to see and do around Bahrain, including the capital, Manama, visit the official Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority site www.btea.bh

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