Art and Heritage

Let the Craft Centres creations take your breath away.

The Craft Centre in Manama, run entirely by Bahraini women, is a favourite with foreign visitors and it is easy to see why. It has some of the most exquisite creations you will find, ranging from jewellery, iron, wood and paper products to embroidered and crocheted goods as well as highly artistic Arabic calligraphy. Perfect place to pick up souvenirs

Attend a traditional Bahraini wedding.

If you can, try and get yourself invited to a traditional Bahraini wedding. The receptions are lavish, the food out of this world and the ceremony probably unlike anything you might have imagined.

Visit the Heritage Festival.

If you are in Bahrain at the time of the annual Heritage Festival, put it on your must-visit list.

The festival offers a chance to see some of Bahrains finest craftsmen at work. Basket-weaving, pottery, handicrafts... youll see it all here. You will also get to hear traditional Bahraini music.

Take a peek behind the walls of a Bahraini home
at the Heritage Centre.

Only a couple of minutes walk from Bab Al Bahrain, this circa 1937 building is now a museum offering a glimpse of traditional Bahraini life.

You will find exhibits relating to Bahrains tradition and culture, with items on pearl diving, falconry and aspects of domestic life including a fully-decorated wedding room.

There are also three rooms of archive photographs tracing Bahrains development which are simply essential viewing.

Watch magic being woven on looms.

Pay a visit to the village of Bani Jamra, where weavers produce works of art on their manually operated looms. Italian fashion designer and Bahrain resident Roberta Redaelli tells of one weaver, Abdul Redha, who has been working the looms for more than 50 years. "It is worth the trip to Bani Jamra just to watch him in action," she says.

See real talent go to pot at Aali.

No visitor can fail to be fascinated watching artisans at work in Aali which is the centre of Bahrains pottery industry. The potters still fire their pieces using ancient kilns and traditional methods that have been handed down generation after generation. Many of the pieces resemble those found in ancient Dilmun digs.

Go to Karbabad and take home a basketful of memories.

Karbabad is famous for its basket-weavers who use split palm fronds to make some exquisite utility and decorative items.

You can pick up wall hangings, floor mats and a variety of baskets that will make great souvenirs or gifts for back home.

Visit the one-stop handicraft shop at Al Jasra.

The Al Jasra Handicraft Centre houses a number of traditional crafts. Set up by the Tourism Directorate, each room at the centre puts different crafts on show, including palm weaving, pottery and woodwork. Items can be bought from a gift shop at the centre.

Marvel at Dilmun sculptures in the Al Oraifi Museum.

Leading artist Rashid Al Oraifi recently opened a museum devoted to art and artefacts of the Dilmun era. The museum boasts well over 100 works of art and sculptures from the period. One of the major attractions is Al Oraifis own paintings of the era, in which he uses a special technique to give them a period effect.

See top artists reveal Bahrains true colours.

The Bahrain Arts Society in Budaiya boasts more than 100 members whose artistic styles are as exciting as they are varied. For anyone interested in contemporary Bahraini art, a visit to the societys annual exhibition is a must.

Art and soul: Feast your senses at the galleries.

Some of the nicest souvenirs you can take home are paintings of the country. Many leading artists have their own galleries where you can buy original art or limited edition prints of their best work. There are too many good artists to list here, but among our favourites are Abdul Wahab Kooheji (one of whose paintings made it as our 1998 print edition cover), Abbas Al Mosawi and Abdulla Al Muharraqi.

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