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Article Index
Bahrain's must-see attractions
Museums and forts
Religion and culture
Heritage homes
Arts and crafts
Souvenir shopping
Other attractions

Grand Mosque

Holiest of the holy. Set against the backdrop of the sea, Al Fateh Grand Mosque offers a striking picture. With its architecture reflecting several Middle East styles, crowned by the world’s largest fibreglass dome and blessed with a tranquillity reserved for the holiest of holy places, the mosque, which accommodates over 7,000 worshippers, truly lives up to its name. Though non-Muslim visitors are welcome, it’s important that you dress modestly, cover your head and take off your shoes before entering. For more information and timings, call 1772 7773.

 

Khamis Mosque

One from history. One of the oldest mosques in the Arab world, Al Khamis mosque is believed to have been built in AD 692 and restored in the 11th century. The Kufic inscriptions on its walls and the ancient arches make the mosque popular with photographers, historians and religious leaders alike. In the 1960s, it ceased to be used for worship. The style of the characteristic minaret was duplicated at Beit Al Quran.

 

Barbar Temple

Religious clues from the distant past. Three temples, built one over the other, provide vital clues to religious rites in the Dilmun era. If the site of the Bahrain Fort was the civil capital of ancient Dilmun, Barbar may have been the spiritual centre. All three temples, constructed during the third and second millenniums BC, were dedicated to Enki, the god of wisdom and living waters. Legend has it that he lived in a subterranean palace covered in silver and lapis lazuli, near a freshwater lake.

 

 

Old Muharraq

Where time stands still. Bahrain’s current and former capitals, Manama and Muharraq, are joined by causeways but the two cities could hardly be more different. While Manama’s skyline boasts the silhouette of a 21st-century city, Muharraq still retains an old-world feel and charm.

The winding lanes, wooden-shuttered homes, sculpted doors, stained-glass windows, ancient windtowers and the aroma of essences and spices all contribute to the feeling of time standing still.

Stroll Muharraq’s old suq, visit the stalls and stop for a tea in a tiny shop. Several shops sell traditional sweets including the popular halwa.

 

Windtowers

Pre-electricity air coolers. You may notice odd towers in old quarters in Manama and Muharraq. Called windtowers, they’re the traditional method of air-conditioning before the days of electricity.

The towers rise five or six metres above the house, are open on all four sides and are designed to catch the slightest wind and channel it down into the rooms, giving a cooling effect, even in the torrid days of summer.