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The Souk
No Visit to Bahrain would be complete without a trip to the Souk , 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 Souk. 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.
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The Gold Souk
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, 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. Gold Souq
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The Cloth Souk
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! Souk
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Siyadi House
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.
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Al-Khamis Mosque
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 are 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. Al Khamis Mosque
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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. BAHRAIN FORT
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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.
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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. House of the Qur'an
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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!
ARAD FORT
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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.
Shaikh Isa's house
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Tree of Life
Standing 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. Tree Of Life
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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. King Fahad Causeway
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Al-Jasra House
The 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.
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Riffa Fort
Standing 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 Souk 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.
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Horse-Riding
The Middle East is renowned for its love of horses, and Bahrain is no exception. There are a few stables to choose from, with mounts for all ages and abilities.
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Horse Racing
Bahrain's love of all things equestrian is further revealed in its splendid racetrack, together with a grandstand those seats 10.000 spectators. Meetings are held every Friday from October to March. Car parking and programs are free; however, betting is strictly prohibited. Horse Race
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Golf Course
Construction work has started on the first 18-hole green course in Bahrain.
US-based Karl Litton, one of the leading golf course designers, has designed the BD 7 million ($18.6m) Riffa Golf Course. The Golf Course is being constructed to professional Golf Association standards with the first seven holes on a dramatic Wadi terrain and remaining 11 holes lay out around and over four lakes.
The nearly 63 hectares (155 acre) site for the new golf course on undeveloped land has been carefully chosen for both access and terrain. The course is par 72 and is 6.286m (6.875 yards) in length with some 24 hectares (60 acres) of grass and will landscaped with palms and shrubbery to give a tropical feeling in the desert terrain.
Golf Course
Environment will be cheered to know that the green terrain will be watered and irrigated by using recycled wastewater brought in from the sea, factories and various plants, and not precious water destined for public consumption. Doing what is ecological correct has been as important to the committee as creating a course of International caliber.
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Diving
Images of coral reefs teeming with colorful tropical fish are generally associated with the Caribbean, Indian Ocean atolls and the remote islands of the South Pacific - not the Arabian Gulf. However, diving on the coral reefs around Bahrain offers, as much color and life as divers will find on any coral reef the world over. Up to 30 species of coral are to be found in these waters (compared with 46 species in the Red Sea and just 16 in the Hawaiian Islands). Diving
Bahrain's waters also comprise sea grass beds, sand and rock, providing a great variety of marine lives. Over 200 species of fish have been identified around Bahrain.
Amongst the better known tropical varieties are butterfly fish, angel fish, parrot fish and the highly individual clown fish which can be seen darting in and out its anemone habitat. The larger inhabitants of these waters include barracuda, grouper, rays and many, many more. Large number of dugong exists in Bahrain's sea grass bed. Green turtles also feed in the sea grass and large numbers of those nest and breed on the sandy islands of the Saudi Arabia coast. In spring, stingrays are a common sight on the various sandbanks around Bahrain, where they bask in the sun in the shallows of water no more than 12 inches (30 centimeters) deep.
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Dress
Male traditional dress consists of a or full length coat, made of dark wool in the winter and white cotton during the summer. Beneath this is worn the serwaal, which are rather like pair of cotton pyjama trousers . A light woolen cloak, or bisht, of beige or black and usually edged with gold embroidery, is worn on more formal occasions. The headdress comprises a crocheted cap, or ghafeyah, on top of which is worn a ghutrah , or scarf, held in place with an agaal, a black wool headband.
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Arabic Coffee & Hospitality
The drinking of coffee is a traditional part of Bahrain welcome, and begins with the preparation of the coffee itself. Three cupfuls of vaster and a rounded teaspoon of coffee (gahwa) are poured into a saucepan and then boiled for about two minutes. Next comes the "relaxation" process, which is very important, as it allows time for the traditional exchange of greetings and welcome. After adding cardamom and saffron in rosewater, the liquid is poured gently from the saucepan into the coffeepot, or dalla, taking care that the sediment remains in the pan. Coffee
The coffee is then left to brew for five or ten minutes before being served in a small cup, or finjan. It is polite to accept a second cup if offered, but for third and subsequent helpings, the shaking of the cup from side to side indicates refusal.
Coffeepots can be found in many shops on the island, as well as in the Souks. They make an ideal reminder for the hospitality and welcome extended to visitors by the people of Bahrain.
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Oil Museum
Situated near "Oil Well NO.1" the museum was inaugurated on the 2nd June 1992 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the discovery of oil in Bahrain, the first country of the Middle East to do so, despite the pessimistic pronouncement of a leading geologist that he would "drink every drop of oil produced South of Basra". It houses some fascinating exhibits, including drilling equipment, documents, old photographs and a working model of an oil rig.
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Oil Well No.1
As 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.
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