The café culture Print E-mail
For decades, the traditional 'ghahwa' with its Arabic coffee and shisha pipes was a hub for Bahraini males. Now, the coffee houses have gone upscale, attracting men and women of all cultures, and have become places to be seen in, says Ghada Alansari.
Understanding Arabs: A westerner's guide Print E-mail
By Kate Mitchell » Most people, especially in the West, have a pre-conceived idea of what constitutes an Arab. These ideas usually fall into the 1970s western image of the urban Arab as excessively wealthy, or the more romantic desert Arab portrayed by Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia. These images may be mixed with those of religious fanaticism, often rendering the visitor nervous or anxious about what he is to behold.
Word on the streets Print E-mail
By Rebecca Torr » Just days after first arriving in Bahrain a friend presented me with a map, a set of keys and a hired car and with a grin told me to “go and explore!” As you can imagine it was a bit daunting at first, especially because I had only ever driven in the UK and I didn’t have a clue where anything was, or where to begin.
Life before and after the discovery of oil Print E-mail

By Kate Mitchell » “The golden-dusted roads which cross it are broad and shaded on either side by long forests of date palms, deepening into an impenetrable greenness, cool with the sound of wind among the great leaves and the tinkling water.”

Written by Aubrey Herbert, of Bahrain in 1905, this description illustrates immediately why Bahrain was an important island within the Gulf. Geographically well placed for trade with India, complete with a plentiful natural water supply, Bahrain was allowed the production of dates which were not easily or even possibly grown elsewhere. Bahrain therefore had its first natural export.

The second was the Pearl. As we know from any history, a certain amount of industrialisation has to occur in order to change the momentum and economy of a civlisation and for Bahrain it was the discovery of oil in 1932 that brought about this change. This was followed by diversification into refining, ship repairing and aluminium smelting, and when combined with a nascent financial sector, Bahrain had the beginnings of the international, prosperous country that we now know.

In order to appreciate the wide ranging and far reaching changes that have occurred over the past century I want to detail exactly how life was at this time.

Bahrain pearl traditions featured on CNN Print E-mail

Bahrain pearls on CNN

Harvesting pearls was a major source of income for Bahrain and the region until the early 20th century. CNN has a video report on Bahrain's pearl industry.

Live pottery expo held Print E-mail

Mr Chrisogelos observes Mr Shougul at workMr Chrisogelos observes Mr Shougul at work
Mr Chrisogelos observes Mr Shougul at work


By Rebecca Torr  »  Traditional pottery experts from Bahrain and Greece showed off their skills during a live exhibition at Al A'ali Shopping Complex from December 2-8, 2010.

Costis Chrisogelos, from Thassos, Greece, took part in the live pottery event along with Bahraini potter Majeed Al Shougul.

The pair worked together in A'ali for more than a week in preparation for the exhibition, organised by Bahraini publisher Ali Mushaima.

Visitors to the mall could even have bespoke items made on request, as the potters worked against a backdrop of photographs depicting Bahraini potters taken during the 1950s and 1960s.

The event was organised as an extension of the Bahraini Friendship Arabia Expedition, which involved a road trip from Bahrain to Greece in the summer.

The story behind Arab names Print E-mail
By Amira Al Hussaini » “Does your name mean anything?” I am often asked. Well, yes, actually it does. In fact, most Arab names have a little story behind them; to know mine, you’ll just have to read on…
The way it used to be Print E-mail

By Lynn Collins » When I arrived in Bahrain from Scotland with my parents and my younger brother in August 1951 I immediately felt very much at home – a feeling that is still with me some 50 years later.

Rules of the road Print E-mail
Driving regulations vary from country to country, so to get you up to speed on what to remember while at the wheel in Bahrain, here are some important things to note.
Yum's the word! Print E-mail
By Roy Kietzman » Where in the world can you stroll down a lane and have the choice of continental, Far Eastern, Indian, Irish, Japanese or Thai cooking? Amble farther into the area, and all sorts of restaurants and cafes are found in the back streets.
The evolution of master artist Shaikh Rashid Print E-mail

By Roy Kietzman » "It's not the style of art that evolves. It's the interpretation," maintains Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, pondering his own two score years as an artist. "The thought or concept is the same: to have an interesting painting for the onlooker, a pleasant painting."

Diving into Bahrain's pearling past Print E-mail

The group sets sail for the oyster beds
The group sets sail for the oyster beds

By Rebecca Torr  »  Like most women I'm always captivated by a romantic love story, especially a true one. So I was fascinated when I first heard the tales of Bahrain and its once thriving pearl diving economy.

I pictured men going out in droves for months on end to search for oysters, hoping to unearth the most magnificent pearls in the world. Then bringing them back home to show their loved ones, before selling them on to be turned into a beautiful necklace or a ring or an earring, which might end up being worn by a rich aristocrat or a princess or a deserving mother the other side of the world.

These men were heroes of their day, not just in Bahrain, or Arabia but the whole world, they left an unforgettable legacy.

With this warm hearted story in mind I was thrilled to be invited to go on a pearl diving excursion and retrace the footsteps of these legends of the sea.

Unearthing Bahrain's buried secrets Print E-mail
By Maeve Kelynack Skinner  »  Bahrain's history goes back a long, long way. How long? Well, consider this: The Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia (now Iraq) – widely believed to be the first to discover the art of writing – etched man's earliest adventures onto clay tablets more than 5,000 years ago. Among those tales were the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Noah and the Great Deluge and, the Epic of Gilgamesh which gives the first mention of Bahrain, then known as Dilmun.
Feats of clay Print E-mail

By Archie D'Cruz » Deep in the heart of Bahrain, amidst 4,000-year-old burial mounds, seven family units in the village of A'ali practice a craft that is just as ancient. Bahrain's potters believe that the craft originated in the country, during the time it was known as Dilmun. True or not, what is certainly beyond question is that people from the Dilmun era - which dates back to 2300 BC - loved beautiful pottery.

An expat's complete guide to Bahrain Print E-mail

Planning to take up employment in Bahrain? Looking to join a family member in the kingdom? Sarah Clarke uses her own experiences to provide new and prospective expatriates a taste of what to expect, what they need to do, and how to go about enjoying life as a resident of this wonderfully welcoming island.


Useful info for new residents Print E-mail

Here is a list of tips, links and phone numbers that newcomers to Bahrain will find useful. You might want to bookmark these links or print them out for easy reference.

Discovering Muharraq's hidden charms Print E-mail
By Heather Anderson  » Unless you live or work in Muharraq, chances are you will only pass through the island when you arrive at or leave from the airport. If so, that would be a pity. The sense of history and timelessness you experience in Bahrain's second-largest city is the kind you will not find anywhere else, and is reason enough to take this trip into the past.
Local architecture is music for the eyes Print E-mail

By Mika Michael » For architects, Bahrain offers a truly unique experience. Here you can see the works of the most famous architects in the world, projects where only the sky has been the limit - not the thickness of the client's wallet.

Spas a refreshing new trend Print E-mail
By Meera Ravi » Boomtime Bahrain is taking its beauty seriously. Even as megabuck deals are inked and buildings spring up everywhere, kissing the skies and hugging newly-defined coastlines, people are making time to rejuvenate themselves in the soul-pleasing and luxurious surroundings of the lovely spas that now dot the kingdom.
Spa culture: What you shoud know Print E-mail
By Meera Ravi » With the fabulous range of treatments available at spas today, it’s all too easy to forget that you, the guest has to be actively involved to make a difference with the treatment you choose.
F1 powers Bahrain into overdrive Print E-mail
By Roy Kietzman » It has been only four years since the island became a regular stop on the Formula-1 racing calendar, but it's fair to say the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) has transformed life in the kingdom.