The Kingdom of Bahrain: The Eloquence of Beauty
A Kingdom of elegance, rich history, and numerous attractions, ruled by H.M. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Kingdom of Bahrain has a culture and a liberal lifestyle, which many will find to be the utmost appealing of the various cultures. Bahrain consists of 33 islands, where Manama stands to be the capital of the Kingdom and has numerous historic monuments from the Al Khamis Mosque which dates back to 692 A.D., to the ultimate modern Formula One racetracks in the world at the Bahrain International Circuit. Bahrain is also known to have one of the most diversified economies in the Gulf as the Kingdom interlaces the modern infrastructure along with its traditions and history. The prosperity upon which the Kingdom shines in is not solely due to a reflection of the size of its oil wealth, but also because of the forward thinking attitude which had the country to begin a number of non-oil activities in the region such as financial services, construction, social and personal services.
Bahrain is seen as the gateway to the Gulf as it has a liberal business environment for which it has achieved international recognition repeatedly. It has access to the markets of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which comprises of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates along with the wider MENA region.
The capital of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Manama was selected as the first Capital of Asian Tourism in the Asian Cooperation Dialogue Forum which had been held in November of 2013. This will have the Kingdom showcasing the diversity of the Asian continent through the form of culture and art as the various different local as well Asian cultural activities are highlighted. It is also known that the Kingdom will form partnerships with various embassies from the Asian countries in order to host special cultural weeks, along with exhibitions which are to be held throughout the year. The diversification of the various cultures that come about in the Kingdom of Bahrain gives the most warming welcome to the citizens of world with its liberal and traditional way of life.
When it comes to the rich culture and the heritage which the Kingdom of Bahrain is known for, its history dates back to the ancient Bronze Age civilization of Dilmun where Bahrain stood to be an important trading centre which linked the routes between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley as early as 5,000 years back. As you tour though Bahrain, you will be able to see the rich culture of the Kingdom being reflected in many of the sites throughout the Kingdom. Two of the sites have been recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Showcasing a cultural, artistic and architectural step in today’s world, Bahrain was the first Arab country in history to have been awarded the Golden Lion for Best Pavilion in August 2010 at the 12th Venice Architecture Biennale, from among 52 participating countries. From the time you land in the Kingdom of Bahrain to the time you take your leave, there is much to see and do in the Kingdom.
The Bahrain National Museum, Manama
The museum consisting of two buildings officially opened in the year of 1988 in December happens to be one of the largest museums in the Middle East. It has several exhibition halls which cover the history of the Kingdom starting from the Stone Age, through the ancient civilizations and to the pre oil period.
Manama Souq is a traditional Arabian market which has everything you could ever dream of buying from the colourful silks to jewellery, natural pearls, gold and range of traditional spices and local produce. There are many fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, spices and nuts. The Gold Souq offers many of the contemporary European jewellery and traditional Bedouin designs. The Cloth Souq offers many materials which range from the coloured silks to cotton to wool materials.
Al-Fateh Grand Mosque
If you want to visit one of the largest and most renowned mosques in the world, don’t miss out on the Al-Fateh Grand Mosque. The immense dome built on top of the mosque which covers an area of 6,500 square meters and can accommodate up to 7,000 people happens to be one of the world’s largest fibreglass domes. The mosque also has a national library which consists of a variety of books, many dating over 100 years ago as well as some rare collection of journals, periodicals and magazines.
The National Theatre of Bahrain
Completed in November 2012, located in the waterfront facility near the Diplomatic Area, the National Theatre of Bahrain is about 11,869 square meters and hosts a variety of opera, drama, modern and classical dance, as well as symphonic concerts. The complex houses a 150 seat flexible studio theatre for contemporary dance and drama, cinema, lectures, workshops as well rehearsals. Many of the most renowned performances that have been held at the National Theatre include opera legend Placido Domingo, with a waterfront concert, as well classical ballet by the legendary Russian Bolshoi Ballet Company. There were also a series of performance which took place during the Spring of Culture 2013 which included concerts by II Divo, Greek pianist and composer Yanni and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
Motor Racing at the Bahrain International Circuit
For those of you who love sports, you won’t want to miss out on the Bahrain International Circuit designed by Hermann Tilke (the architect responsible for the Sepang, Shanghai, Istanbul Park as well as Valencia Grand Prix venues), the home to one of the biggest sporting occasions in the Middle East. The Bahrain Grand Prix has given Bahrain an established reputation for being “the home of motosports in the Middle East,” due to the friendly, community atmosphere. The Kingdom fosters a wide array of motosports from the local series to drag racing and karting. The Grand Prix remains to be the Gulf’s largest annual sporting, business and leisure platform as well as being Bahrain’s leading international event and shop window to the world.
With the beautiful weather in Bahrain, the climate is perfect for water sports which allow many to enjoy the sport all year long. The Arabian Gulf is the best setting for sea fishing, sailing, and scub diving. As the Kingdom is known for its pearl industry, Bahrain allows the visitors to dive for their own pearls with the help of the Aquatique Scuba Centre. In the year of 2012, the legacy of Bahrain’s pearl diving industry was honoured when UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee added the historic “Pearling Trail” to its list of World Heritage sites. The 3.5 kilometre trail consists of 17 buildings in Muharraq, three offshore oyster beds, parts of the seashore and the Qal’at Bu Mahir fortress on the southern trip of Muharraq Island.
Another fun activity is taking a 40 minute boat ride to the Hawar Islands and looking out for the dolphins that come out to play in the Gulf seas as the flamingos trail through the waters.
Spring of Culture Festival
This festival celebrates the best of all aspects of the local, regional and international performers from music, art and philosophy to many more. Being the biggest cultural festival in the Gulf region, the majority of the events are free to the public. Many artistic performance and visual art exhibitions, lectures and family events take place. The Spring of Culture 2015 will be titled “Our Heritage is our Treasure,” and will be showcasing the world heritage through the international groups which will be visiting the Kingdom.
Bahrain Summer Festival
The Bahrain Summer festival has many educational and article events with free daily cultural entertainment and education activities for children. There are also numerous performances by renowned artists, as well as shows and exhibitions from around the world.
As horses have been part of the Bahraini culture for many centuries, there is a unique collection of pure bred Arabian horses that has been preserved on the island for over 200 years by the Royal family. Bahrain’s rich culture is again reflected as the grandeur beautiful creatures race through the splendid racetrack. Many of the meets are held every Friday from October to March.
Bahrain is the home to an international 18 hole grass golf course which was designed by Colin Montgomerie. The 72 championship course at the Royal Golf Club located in Riffa features five lakes and is landscaped with numerous date palms and desert rough. The club was designed by the leading golf course designer Karl Litton and consists of a beautiful landscape with shrubbery and palms.
When it comes to find activity after activity whether for your friends or family, you will never find yourself with nothing to do because there is always something happening in the Kingdom of Bahrain. From the Bahrain International Book Fair to the Bahrain Tradition Festival to the Bahrain International Music Festival, culture and heritage is shown throughout as the Kingdom welcomes its visitors leaving them with many uncountable memories to cherish.