Bahrain is attracting attention, thanks to the impending Formula One Grand Prix that is scheduled to be held here in April. If you too are visiting the stunning Gulf country that is fast emerging as a tourist hotspot for this mega event to be held on the Bahrain International Circuit, you might want to make the best of your holiday by checking out these top five attractions in the country:
Dilmun Burial Mounds
Occupying 5% of the island’s total landmass, over 85,000 burial mounds, spread across Bahrain have been a subject of great archaeological interest across the world. These burial mounds are associated with the ancient Dilmun Civilisation that ruled Bahrain between 3200–330 BC. The site is believed to be the largest pre-historic cemetery in the world and has been crucial in revealing information about the civilisation of which only little remains known. Visitors are especially advised to check out the extremely well-preserved tombs around the village of A’Ali.
Al Fateh Grand Mosque
Bahrain’s largest mosque and one of the largest in the world, the Al Fateh Grand Mosque is splendid in its architecture. The mosque boasts the largest fibreglass dome in the world as well as walls decorated with Kufic calligraphy. Spread over 6500 square meters, the mosque can accommodate up to 7000 worshippers at one point. Al Fateh Grand Mosque remains open for tourist exploration from 9am to 4pm and requires visitors to be dressed modestly. Wearing shorts is prohibited. Guided tours in multiple languages are available.
The Bahrain Fort is an imposing structure built by the Portuguese in the 16th century as a measure to strengthen their military defence in the Gulf. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fort contains reminiscences of Bahrain’s history from 2300 BC up to the 18th century. Just ten minutes of bus ride away from Manama, the fort is best visited during the night when an interactive light and sound based on the history of the fort takes place. The fort remains open every day from 8am-6pm.
Bahrain National Museum
If you are looking for an entry point to the history of Bahrain, you will be best advised to start at the Bahrain National Museum, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. The largest and one of the oldest museums in the country, the Bahrain National Museum boasts ancient archaeological artefacts covering the 5000 years of the country’s history. Some of the star attractions housed in the museum include a Hall of Graves, Customs and Traditions, the Islamic era and Documents and Manuscripts, the reproduction souq covering Traditional Trades and Crafts and a huge satellite photo of Bahrain. The museum is located in Manama, the capital city and remains open from 8am-6pm, every day.
Tree of Life
A mystery that has perplexed many and has given rise to many theories about its origin, Bahrain’s Tree of Life is an attraction that needs to be featured on your wish list. A lonely tree standing in the midst of desert, with no vegetation in sight for miles, the tree is believed to be the lone survivor of the Garden of Eden on earth by many. Standing on a hill, with no apparent source of water in sight, the tree has been blossoming for over 400 years now, and locals associate its longevity with the Enki, the mythical god of water. Several cults and worshipping rituals have also found themselves connected to this rare tree for years.