The 2018 Capital of Islamic Culture, Muharraq is Bahrain’s third largest city. Serving as the Kingdom’s capital until 1932 when it was replaced by Manama, the city has undergone a series of developments since. However, it has managed to retain its old-world charm. So wander amid traditional houses depicting Gulf-style architecture or try some traditional cuisine, the city is no short of delights.
Rashid Al-Oraifi Museum
Dedicated to the Dilmun era, this private collection of art and sculpture by Rashid Al Oraifi has more than 100 works from the period that defined the ancient history of Bahrain. Decorative gypsum designs covering the walls and window frames, and a central courtyard paved with locally made bricks and enhanced with bronze sculptures adds to the sense of vastness of the overall design.
Bu Maher Fort was built in 1840. Having once served as the main fishing harbour, it’s the first stop in the historical Pearling Path. You can take a boat from the Bahrain National Museum harbour to access the visitor’s centre at the fort. Then there’s Arad Fort, which was built in approximately the 15th century. It was located on a separate island back then, which has now been joined to Muharraq. Visit the forts after sunset, as the structure looks breathtaking under lights. A lot of seasonal cultural festivals are hosted here throughout the year.
Souq Al Qaisariya
One of the oldest markets in Bahrain, Souq Al Qaisariya is a collection of old, traditional shops in the centre of Muharraq Souq, which was formed in the beginning of the 19th century. The buildings of the souq, made of clay bricks, paints a link between the past and the present. Home to a variety of shops, you can buy many items ranging from pearls to spices and teas. The souq is also a fundamental part of the Pearling Trail, inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012.
A manmade set of six themed islands Tala, Najmah, Asdaf, Murjan, Jood and Lulu in the northeastern part of Bahrain, Amwaj Islands is a destination in itself offering varied experiences amidst its azure waters and lagoons making for a pretty sight in the Arabian Gulf. You can try water sports like kite and windsurfing, enjoy the Marina in a boat, or visit the Lagoon complex dotted with cafes, restaurants, shops and more.
Abdullah Al Zayed House
More than 100 years old, the building was the home of late Bahraini intellectual and founder of the first weekly newspaper in Bahrain and the Arabian Gulf, Abdullah Al-Zayed. The restored building, opened in 2003 and is dedicated to the preservation of Bahrain’s press heritage and at the same time preserves part of the country’s unique architectural traditions. The Abdullah Al-Zayed House for Bahraini Press Heritage was the first restoration project undertaken by the Shaikh Ebrahim Center by private sponsors.
Words: Salman Saeed