Bahrain is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Middle East with over two million tourists a year. Most of the visitors are from Arab states of the Persian Gulf but there is an increasing number of tourists from outside the region thanks to an awareness of the Kingdom’s rich heritage. The Bahrain Grand Prix is an important annual event
Bahrain holds an attraction for tourists with all kinds of taste ranging from historic to leisure to sports. Bahrain has museums showcasing its rich history over the centuries, pearls and pearl diving and the discovery of oil. Historical places to see include:
Bahrain Fort : This is a Portuguese fort which is situated on a hillock to the west coast. Archaeological evidence points to this region once serving as the capital of the Dilmun civilization and it is currently a UNESCO world heritage site.
Arad Fort : A 15th century fort situated in Arad and built in typical Arabian architecture. In order to enjoy its beauty, it must be seen by night when it glows in all splendour under the bright illumination.
Riffa Fort : The Salman bin Ahmed Al Fateh Fort stands tall on a hill overlooking the valley at Riffa. Built around the 18th century it is a major tourist attraction today and houses some displays of texts from the Holy Quran along with a depiction of the traditional ‘souq’ of Bahrain.
Dilmun Burial Mounds: These are burial tombs dating back to the Dilmun era of around 4000BC. Excavations are in progress at the site to uncover and gain an insight into the civilization of that era.
Barbar Temple : These temples situated at Barbar village along the Budaiya highway are believed to be approximately 3000 years old and may have played an important part in the dilmun culture. It is thought that the temples were constructed to worship the god Enki, the god of wisdom and freshwater, and his wife Nankhur Sak (Ninhursag). Many artefacts found during the excavation are now on display at the Bahrain National Museum.
Bahrain National Museum Situated at the intersection of the Muharraq causeway and King Faisal highway, the museum houses a terrific collection of artefacts and exhibits from contemporary Bahrain to the ancient civilization of Dilmun. The museum also has a section dedicated to the pearling industry of early 20th century and also houses a reconstruction of a typical souk of the 1930s showcasing the traditional trades and crafts.Historical places to see include:
Oil Museum and First Oil Well: This is the first oil production well in the Arabian Gulf. The Oil Museum provides an insight into the oil industry in Bahrain and its history, along with displays of drilling equipment, documents & old
Museum of Pearl Diving: This building is one of the most important buildings in modern history of Bahrain. It was formerly the first official location of the Bahrain Courts after which it was converted into a museum. Historical places to see include:
The Grand Mosque The Al Fateh Mosque also known as the Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in Bahrain. It is open to tourism besides being a place of Islamic worship.
The Al Khamis Mosque: It is believed to be the oldest mosque in Bahrain built during the reign of Ummayad Caliph Umer II. It is considered to be one of the oldest relics of Islam in the region, and the foundation of this mosque is believed to have been laid as early as 692 AD. The identical twin minarets of this ancient Islamic monument make it easily noticeable as one drives along the Shaikh Salman Road in Khamis.
Bait Al Quran meaning the ‘House of the Quran’ was built to accommodate a comprehensive and valuable collection of the Qur'an and rare manuscripts, a concept which is unique in the Persian Gulf. This great institution and its museum house an internationally celebrated collection of historic Quranic manuscripts from various parts of the Islamic world, from China in the East to Spain in the West, representing a progression of calligraphic traditions from the first century of the Islamic era to the present day.
Tree of Life: The Tree of Life (Shajarat al-Hayah) is a 400-year old mesquite tree that stands alone in the desert about 2 kilometres from Jebel Al Dukhan, the highest point in Bahrain. It is considered a natural wonder as it stands alone in the desert. The source of water for this tree remains a mystery because it stands in a place completely free of water
Al Jasra House: The house was built by Shaikh Hamad bin Abdulla Al Khalifa in 1907, and was the birthplace of the late Amir, Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa. Restored in 1986 and furnished in the 1930s style, it now serves as a heritage museum and is open for public viewing.
Bahrain International Circuit: Located at Sakhir, this track is the venue for the annual Formula One Grand Prix besides drag racing, V8 and GP2. It has six separate tracks including a test oval and a drag strip. In 200, the circuit became the first Grand Prix circuit to be awarded the distinguished FIA Institute Centre of Excellence award.
Al Areen Wild Life Sanctuary: The park is perfect for families and animal lovers to explore at leisure and enjoy the opportunity of seeing animals in the wild. The wildlife sanctuary was built to protect rare Arabian species including the Oryx, Adax and Reem Gazelle.
The Lost Paradise of Dilmun : is the largest theme water park in the middle east and offers a range of water sports, and fun rides.