Bahrain, officially known as the kingdom of Bahrain, is an island country. It is situated near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is believed to be an ancient land that belonged to the Dilmun civilization. It is popular with travelers for its rich culture and heritage but without the strict application of Islamic law upon its non-Muslim communities. That is reflected in the fact that alcohol is legal here.
Even in this era, the islanders are proud of their rich heritage and traditions, and still regard themselves as part of a trading society. Bahrain has a very vibrant culture. The manageable size of the island also makes it very easy to navigate around it.
The most attractive activity in Bahrain is Pearl diving. Officially known as the Bahrain Pearling Trail, it has existed since before 2000 BC. It used to be the main contributor to the national GDP of the country. Since 1930s it has been popularly known as a tourist attraction more than an economic activity. Pearl diving is a must when visiting Bahrain.
Bahrain has the honor of having the first oil well of the Middle East. It is still in working condition. Situated near this well is the Oil museum. The museum contains fascinating exhibits of old photographs, machinery models that were used in the well. It was inaugurated on June 2, 1992 to commemorate 60 years of discovering oil in Bahrain; the first country in the Middle East to do so. The museum is a great place for collecting souvenirs.
Arad fort was first built during the 15th century. Historically it is the most ancient and significant structure and it is almost in its original condition. Arad was extensively modified during 1800s throughout Omani dynasty. Later, the fort became the central hub for military operations during this era. Situated on the island of Muharraq, joined to the mainland by the Sheikh Isa bin Salman Causeway, the Arad Fort craft bazaars with children’s rides and traditional music are often held in the forecourt of the fort on Thursday and Friday afternoons.
The Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is located near the highway between Riffa and Awali. It is approximately 2km from Jebel Dukhan. The Tree has stood tall and completely alone on a barren and lifeless desert for over 400 years. Not only has it survived without water all these years, but it has also exceeded the life expectancy of its species by well over 300 years. The survival of this tree till date remains a very foggy mystery. The mysterious aura around it serves as fascination for the travelers.
The Grand Mosque
The Al Fateh Islamic Centre (Grand Mosque) is also a fascinating sight; it has broken records by having world’s largest fiberglass dome. Elaborate and exquisite Arab architecture and design makes it a beautiful masterpiece. It has the capacity of accommodating 7,000 worshippers and it also houses the Religious Institute for Islamic Affairs. Visitors should dress modestly, and are required to remove their shoes and cover their heads upon entering the mosque.
Lastly, you should know about the method for exchanging currency in Bahrain. Rest assured that it is nothing to worry about. Exchanging your US Dollars (at a rate of 0.95 Dinars for 1 dollar) is a simple task with the numerous Travelex Money Exchange stores operating in Bahrain.