Experience Bahrain from a local’s point of view when you explore our rich cultural heritage. Bahrain holds a unique place in the Arabian Gulf with one of the most liberal cultural heritage in the region. With three sites recognized as UNESCO world heritage sites, the Pearling Path, Qal’at-al-Bahrain, and the Dilmun Burial Mounds. Our extraordinary culture can be seen in many historical sites, allowing visitors to live the enduring legacy of Bahrain.
The Bahrain National Museum is the crowning achievement of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s ongoing efforts to preserve the nation’s heritage and history. These efforts began in 1957 when the first artifacts were discovered during the Danish archaeological expedition that was held at Al-Hidaya Al-Khal-ifiya in Muharraq. Built on a central location between Manama and Muharraq, the Bahrain National Museum houses nine main halls and classifies the accumulated heritage of the Kingdom of Bahrain into six different sections. Visitors will be taken on a 4,000 year journey through time as they pass through the museum’s halls. Highlights include fascinating artifacts from Ancient Dilmun, an Islamic Period hall, original manuscripts and traditional handicrafts, burial mounds, and exhibits illustrating daily life in Bahrain.
Opened in February 2008, the Qala’at Al-Bahrain (Bahrain Fort) Site Museum seeks to maintain the ancient historic features of the site, as well as document the archaeological periods by preserving the artefacts discovered at the site. The museum is located on the northern coast of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and is surrounded by a picturesque seascape and lush greenery that escaped urban encroachment. The museum’s collection showcases five different historical periods which are arranged chronologically, each within its own separate gallery. The three-dimensional design concept of Qala’at Al-Bahrain Site Museum covers two floors and reflects a strong continuation between its interior and exterior spaces. The design also allows its rear sea-facing façade to open a direct path from the heart of the village to the shoreline. The museum also contains a main courtyard leading to a café which overlooks the coastline opposite the fort, as well as a lecture hall and gift shop. Qala’at Al-Bahrain Site Museum is situated across from the historic Qala’at Al-Bahrain, one of the most important historic political and military forts in the GCC region. The fort is part of the Qala’at Al-Bahrain Site, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.
The museum has been established to present a history of military heritage of the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) up until today. The museum stands as a testament to the BDF's role in safeguarding the kingdom, and it documents the significant sacrifices made by the military, as well as shedding light on the technical developments of the weaponry used in these acts of loyalty. The Military Museum was opened by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, on February 5, 2013. The military acts as a monument to Bahrain's military culture, from ancient military history to the modern-day BDF.
The original post office of Manama, situated directly behind Bab Al Bahrain, is now the location of a newly renovated museum that documents the history of postal services of Bahrain in all its eras. The museum is home to an archive of photographs from the postal service since its inception, a complete catalogue of Bahraini stamps as well as stamps from all over the world.
Built around 692 A.D., Al Khamis Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in the Arab world. Its foundation dates back to the 11th century and was rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries. During this reconstruction, identical twin minarets were added, making the ancient Islamic monument easily recognizable.
The grand Al Fateh Mosque is Bahrain’s largest place of worship, and is one of the largest mosques in the world. It was built under the patronage of the late Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa in 1987 and was named after Ahmed Al Fateh. With its walls beautifully ornamented with Kuﬁc calligraphy, the mosque accomodates up to 7,000 worshippers and is crowned with the largest ﬁberglass dome in the world.
Housed in a building spectacularly engraved with Arabic script, Beit al Quran (House of Quran) showcases a fascinating collection of Quranic manuscripts dating back to the 7th century, as well as a library of over 50,000 books written in Arabic, English, and French that center mostly on Islam. Beit al Quran is claimed to be the only institute in the world devoted to the Quran. Within its collections feature Qurans written on parchment, rice, peas and grains. A mosque, an auditorium, a madrasa (religious school), a museum and a variety of art exhibitions are also housed in the building.
The “Pearling path: Testimony of an Island Economy” is the second cultural landmark in Bahrain inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site was inscribed on the list in 2012, following the inscription of Qala’at Al-Bahrain in 2007. The Pearling Path extends for about 3 kilometers, starting from the pearling sites (known locally as “hayrat”) near Bu Maher Fort which was built in 1840, to Siyadi House in the heart of Muharraq, which will serve as the main pearling museum.
The path takes visitors on a journey from the Bu Maher Fort visitor center, to Al-Ghous, House, Al-Jalahma House, Badr Ghulum House for folk medicine, Yousif Al-Alawi House, Fakhro House, Murad House and Majlis, some shops and storehouses (known locally as Amārat) in Suq Al-Qaisariyah such as Amārat Yousif Abdulrahman Fakhro and Rashid Fakhro, Nukhidhah (i.e. boat capital) House, and finally Siyadi House and Mosque.
The Pearling Path is a living open-air museum, documenting a particular period in the Kingdom’s history when its economy was dependent largely on pearling trades. In addition, the path also highlights the journey of the Bahraini pearl from seabed to international marketplaces. Moreover, the path also weaves stories about the people who were involved in the pearling trade, from the tawwash (i.e. grand pearl merchant), the diver, nukhidha, seeb (i.e. person in charge of pulling divers up to the deck), and others, all while painting a picture of how life once was in Bahrain.
The Pearling Path is a reflection of the Bahraini people’s identity. Hence, the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities spared no effort to put in place the necessary legal frameworks and administrative plans to preserve and maintain the site for the benefit of the wider community and protect the rich heritage of Bahrain.
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