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No Visit to Bahrain would be completed without a trip to the soukh, with its profusion of colors, sounds, and aromas. All wares are sold, from cloth of colors and textures to gold and jewelry as well as the traditional array of spices and local produce. Bartering is expected, and indeed turns the whole experience of shopping into a challenge to see who can obtain the best price. The central market, completed in 1978, provides modern facilities for trades, which were unavailable, when the market took place in the soukh. It is well worth a visit, if only to enjoy the brightly colored display of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as the scents of the herbs, nuts and spices.

Bahrain gold is usually 21 carat and hallmark; it is available in an infinite number of styles, including traditional Bedouin designs as well as the more contemporary European jewelry. If you can't see what you want, and then don't worry pieces can also be made to order, although it is wise to confirm a price before the craftsmen go to work

Materials of all textures, colors and origins are available here from silk to cotton and wool. If you have a sketch or an item to be copied, the many tailors shops which are dotted throughout the soukh can make you a new suit or outfit- at a fraction of the original price! This is one of the most impressive examples of a 19th century built by the pearl-merchant Ahmed Bin Qassem Siyadi and has many fine features to look out for, including ornate ceilings, stained-glass windows, carved screens and a large safe set into the wall of a small, upper reception room.

The twin minarets of this ancient mosque are easily identifiable as you drive along the Sh. Salman Road . It's considered being one of the oldest relics of Islam in the region, and the foundation is believed to have been laid as early as 692AD. An inscription found on the site, however, suggests a foundation date sometimes during the 11th Century. It has since been rebuilt twice in both 14th & 15th centuries, when the minarets were constructed. The mosque has been partially restored recently.

Bahrain Fort the first dwellings on the site are believed to have been constructed around 2800 BC, and have subsequently been overlaid by numerous fortified settlements. The last was built in the early 16th century to defend Portugal 's recent acquisition of the islands-for this reason, it is also known locally as the Portuguese Fort. Numerous excavations have uncovered a variety of relics from the forts past.

Barbar Temple excavations, which were begun in the 1950s and 1960s, have revealed three stone-built temples dating from the second and third millennia BC. It is believed that they were built as a place of worship for the God of Spring Waters, Enki, and a sacred well within the complex strengthens this theory.

Museum of Pearl Diving t he ' Museum of Pearl Diving ' building is regarded as one of the most important and historic buildings in Bahrain . Its importance derives from being the first official center for the Bahrain Courts.

In addition, it is a vital witness to what Bahrain has achieved through its long history in regard to the application of civil law and regulations, and the establishment of the principles of justice on solid legal foundations. The building was opened by the late H.H. Sh. Hamad Bin Essa AI-Khalifa, then governor of Bahrain , in the Hijra year 1356 (Islamic Calendar), October 18th, 1937 .

The building at that time consisted of four Supreme Courts, in addition to three Directorates: (1) Sunni Waqf (Religious Endowments of the Sunnis), (2) Jaffaria Waqf (Religious Endowments of the Shiites), and (3) Minors Estate (Properties of Underage). In addition, there were rooms used as offices, and another room for filing purposes.

In 1984, the building was transformed into the Traditional Heritage Center . Its departments and rooms were dedicated to the display of various traditional aspects of Bahrain 's heritage, except the Supreme Courtroom, to which no significant change has been made for 65 years. The Supreme Courts at that time included (1) a Civil Court , (2) an Appellate Court, and (3) a Criminal Court.

The current ' Museum of Pearl Diving ' building is under the authority of the Directorate of Archaeology and Heritage, which is one of the major Directorates of the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Information. The ' Museum of Pearl Diving ' building is a source of pride to Bahrain , for it contains the story of Bahrain , its governors, and its people from the past till the present.

Bait Al Qur'an the House of the Qur'an was built to accommodate a comprehensive and valuable collection of the Holy Qur'an and manuscripts, a concept which is unique in the Arabian Gulf . All visitors are welcome, and the complex comprises a mosque, a library, an auditorium, a school and museum consisting of five exhibition halls.

Arad Fort this 16th century fort of Arabic construction is probably one of the first landmarks you will see upon arrival to Bahrain due to its proximity to the airport. It has undergone extensive restoration, and is now illuminated at night, presenting a magnificent sight. Little is known of the fort history, and there is no firm evidence of the precise date of construction, but comprehensive excavations have been undertaken in order to discover its past. N.B. Stout shoes should be worn if you intend to pay a visit, in order that you can explore to the full- high heels are not suitable for climbing about on the ramparts!

Shaikh Isa's House Shaikh Isa's house, in the old town of Muharraq, was once the home of the Amir`s great-grandfather, Shaikh Isa Bin Ali Al khalifa . It provides a fine example of local architecture, complete with wind tower, wall carving and lattice work, and its representative of traditional 19th century life. One of the early forms of " air conditions" was the wind tower, a traditional landmark of local architecture. This would act as a funnel, catching the breeze and drawing it down it down into the cavities below, as well as allowing the release of hot air like a chimney.

Tree of Life s tanding alone in the desert about 1.2 miles (two kilometers) from the Jebel Dukhan, this flourishing mystic tree provides welcome shade from the heat of the day, although its source of water remains a mystery.

Oil Well No.1 a s its name suggests, this is the first oil well in the Gulf. "Spurted" on 16th October 1931 , the well finally began to blow heads of oil on the morning of 2nd June 1932 , too much celebration on the part of those involved in the project. It is situated below jebel Dukhan, the Mountain of Smoke , which, at a height of 134 meters (450 feet), is the highest point of the island. Its name comes from the misty haze, which frequently surrounds it on a hot and humid day.

King Fahad Causeway opened in 1986, this remarkable 15.5 miles (25km) feat of engineering links Bahrain and Saudi Arabia . It is one of the most expensive bridges in the world. The causeway traverses Umm Nasan Island , which is a sanctuary for wildlife, and at halfway point there is a facility area, including a restaurant, which you can visit even if you don't travel the whole distance to Saudi Arabia .

Al-Jasra House t he house was built by Shaikh Hamad bin Abdulla Al Khalifa in 1907, and was the birthplace of the present Amir in July 1933. When the family moved to Riffa later in the 1930, the building fell into disrepair, but they were restored in 1986 and are now open to the public.

Salman bin Ahmed Al fateh Fort s tanding on a low escarpment, overlooking the valley between the east and west Riffa the fort held an ideal strategic position during the 18th century. In more recent times, it was used as a private dwelling, but it has now been restored and is open to the public. A section in Arabic calligraphy, including a beautiful display of illuminated Qur'an and other religious documents, is breathtaking, and course of visit world be complete without closer look at the traditional trades and crafts which have been cleverly displayed in a reconstruction of a typical soukh of the 1930s. There are also photographs and models pealing exhibitions and artifact to represent the former source of Bahrain 's wealth before the advent of oil. Many, many more exhibits add up to memorable experience, and a deeper understanding of the fascinating history of the island.

Diving "History and ancient history would suggest that diving itself was probably born in and around the warm shallow waters of Bahrain . Recorded as far back as 5000 years ago, Pearl Diving has been Bahrain 's heritage for millennia and ,today, these same productive oyster beds (the largest of their kind in the world) continue to flourish, offering some very unique, rewarding and exciting recreational diving opportunities all year round. With water temperatures ranging from 34C in summer to 20C in winter, providing comfortable diving conditions year round, up to 30 species of coral and in excess of 200 species of fish can be found, in particular, on the northern offshore reefs of Bahrain . Here, divers, underwater photographers and snorkellers can discover a myriad of Indo Pacific species including clown fish, trigger fish, surgeon fish,turtles, rays, lion fish,grouper, snapper, crayfish and even whalesharks; while tuna, mackerel, trevally and barracuda cruise above. In addition to reef diving there are a number of wrecks around the island, including ships, planes, tugs and barges that have something special to offer the inveterate diver. Dugongs (sea cows) can also be seen feeding on the sea grass in the southern waters of Bahrain during the cooler winter months. Scuba and snorkeling education, equipment, experiences and excursions are available to an international standard through a PADI 5 Star Dive Centre located in Manama".

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