WRITTEN BY MARIA SHEIKH |
Tuesday, July 17, 2018 ;
Usually, when you hear the word Middle East, you probably think of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or Dubai. But there is a lesser known Island that offers the hot temperatures, beautiful landscapes and brilliant tourist attractions.
Known as the “Hawaii of Middle East” The Kingdom of Bahrain (also known as the Island of Pearls), is one of the largest producers of the freshwater pearls.
Bahrain’s name is derived from an Arabic word ‘Bahr’ meaning sea with Bahrain meaning two seas. Islam came to Bahrain at the time of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), when he sent a letter to the king of that era inviting him towards Islam.
The letter is still preserved in a multi-purpose complex which is dedicated to the Islamic arts known as Bait al Quran.
Whether you are fond of historic culture, interior architecture, photography, food or a car enthusiast, this island is a must for your next visit. In fact, Muslim Influencers have further popularised the Island with some recent visits.
The new home for Influencers
Noha Nabil, a Kuwaiti social media influencer and fashion blogger, Sarah Al Wadaani a beauty expert from Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain’s very own Khawla Al Maraghi– a fashion vlogger- are just some of the names who attended Jewellery Arabia 2017, the region’s largest jewellery and watch show.
While Influencers like Yalda Golsharifi and Dalal AlDoub from Kuwait and Hala Abdallah from Saudi Arabia are some of the many Influencers who attended the annual #ShopBahrain Festival in February 2018.
Let’s have a look at some unknown facts about Bahrain…
Bahrain and its Historic Places
1. Tree of Life
The most fascinating fact about Bahrain’s Tree of life is that the source of its water is mysterious. It is known as the ‘Tree of life’ because of the fact that it is 400 years old and still continues to grow in the middle of the desert in extreme temperature conditions, without the source of water and nutrients.
It has by far become one of the main tourist attractions of Bahrain. With a 3.5/5 rating on Trip Advisor. You will be thrilled to experience the feeling of watching sunset sitting by one of the huge branches of the tree and if you are an aspiring photographer, this place is good to go!
2. Qala’t Al Bahrain/ Bahrain Fort
It has been listed as Bahrain’s first UNESCO World heritage site in 2005. Forts and Museums may sound like a boring place for you to go but the interesting fact about Bahrain fort is that it is located by the sea and offers a magnificent architectural design.
It has an in-built museum giving you the chance to explore the history behind the different forts around Bahrain. Again, if you are a photographer, architect or someone who loves ancient history and culture, this place is meant for you!
3. The Bahrain Pearling Trail
It is another UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012. It is a 3.5km trail located in the island of Muharraq, in Bahrain. It consists of 17 buildings around the city as well as three offshore oyster beds, part of the seashore and the Bu Maher fort. The buildings include the homes of wealthy merchants, shops, storehouses and a mosque.
It’s the world’s only remaining site that’s a complete example of the pearling tradition, which contributed greatly to the region’s economy from the 2nd century to the 1930s.
So, yes, it’s a pretty big deal. Not only that, within this trail you will come across many places to grab a bite from but since you would be checking out a cultural historic place, you must go for a traditional Bahraini breakfast.
4. Al Fateh Mosque
Built in 1984, this Mosque is the largest mosque in Bahrain and can hold up to 7000 people!
The Mosque was built with marble from Italy, glass from Austria and teak from India, carved by local Bahraini craftspeople, and has some fine examples of interior design.
The dedicated guides lead visitors through the Mosque, explaining aspects of religious etiquette while pointing out special features of Mosque architecture.
The huge domed building hosts the National Library. This place is a must for an architect, interior designer and you can visit this place irrespective of you being a Muslim or not.
Some Other Cool and Fun Facts About Bahrain
5. Despite being the first Arabian country to discover petroleum in 1932, Bahrain is also the first Arab country to host the Gulf Air Grand Prix in 2004, Australian V8 Supercar event, etc.
6. The World Trade center of Bahrain is the world’s first high rise building to have incorporated wind turbine in its architectural design.
7. The World’s largest simultaneous coin toss event was organized by the British school of Bahrain, by the Guinness book of World Records.
8. Bahrain has once hosted the largest national flag that stood by 318 by 555 feet high. The record was later broken by the Israeli flag.
9. Last but not the least, Bahrain was awarded the Golden Lion for the best national participation at the 12th Venice Architecture Biennale for ‘Reclaim’, an investigation into the decline of the islands’ sea culture, which was the first official national participation of a Gulf state at the event.
Besides everything that you now know about the island, did you know that the ancient people used to believe that Bahrain was the home to the Garden of Eden?
During the day, Bahrain has amazing beaches and beautiful views and when the sun descends, the night life becomes exciting. Whether it’s the cinemas, the malls or the events.
This year has been host to some really exciting events, including: The International Garden Show, Bahrain food festival, Art Bahrain Borders (Art Bab), Bahrain Strongest Man, The Grand Prix Formula 1, 2018, The 18th International Book fair, Bahrain international air show and many more events you wouldn’t want to miss.
Besides the rich culture, food and environment that Bahrain has to offer, it also hosts many great events every month.
So, no matter when you plan your visit to Bahrain, this Island will always have something to offer you for your entertainment.
Depending on your unique interests, you can choose to visit the F1 Grand Prix circuit, go bowling with your family, pick an amusement center for ice skating, water park with friends or experience a dhow moment or go to Al Bandar for some fun.
Maria Shaikh Haneef is a Bahraini writer and author of ‘Under the Bahraini Sky’, and contributor to MVSLIM.