Historical Treasures of Bahrain

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A small island with a rich history.


Bahrain is a land rich with ancient history, having shown first signs of settlement around 4,500 years ago. Amidst the modernity of villas, buildings, compounds and the beautiful skyline decorated with high-rises, this land has seen ancient civilizations come and go. Within every city in Bahrain, there is a glimmer of this rich history that has been discovered or waiting to be discovered.

Saar Settlement (Dilmun Temple)

SaarSettlement_Bahrain_2016_TS-(03)Located a few hundred meters from Saar village is an ancient residential settlement, dating back to around 2,300 B.C., during the early period of the ancient civilization of Dilmun. The excavated settlement shows compounds built in room-like structures and sharing walls. On the settlement is a small local temple and close by is an ancient burial site.

Location: Past the end of Avenue 23, Southern area of Saar, Bahrain

Barbar Temple

BarbarTemple_Bahrain_2016_TS-(03)Barbar Temple is one of the oldest temples in Bahrain, dating back to 3,000 B.C. when Bahrain was known as Dilmun. Excavations show that three temples were built atop one another, each from a different historical era.

Location: South of Alshowaikh Cemetery, Rd. No. 1811, Barbar, Bahrain

Bahrain Fort (Portuguese Fort)

BahrainFort_Bahrain_2016_TS-(04)One of the oldest human settlements in the GCC can be found on this historic waterfront hilltop on the northeastern peak of Bahrain. Several layers of buildings have been excavated, each representing a different historical era spanning from 2,300 B.C. up to the 16th century A.D.

The fort and the ancient city next to it have been witnesses to the periods of Dilmun, Tylos, Islamic era and Portuguese rule. Within the ruins, excavations have revealed three consecutive Dilmun cities as well as a Greek city. Residential, public, commercial and military structures have been discovered and antiquities found on the sites are on display in the adjacent museum.

Location: Avenue 44, Al Qalah, Bahrain

Al Khamis Mosque

KhamisMosque_Bahrain_2016_TS-(04)Al Khamis Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in the Arab world dating back to 692 A.D., built in the era of the Ummayad Dynasty at the time of the Caliph Omar ibn Abdulaziz. It had been rebuilt through reconstruction in the 14th and 15th centuries.

Location: Shaikh Salman Highway & Rd. No. 539, Tashan, Bahrain

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Building a Better World

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An interview with community caretaker and peace-builder, Suhail Algosaibi.

By Tuba Saricimen

Algosaibi is an entrepreneur, a reconciliation activist, a father, a husband and a son, but most of all, he is a man with a mission: “To make the world a better place by helping people unleash their potential. Ultimately, every human being wants to be happy, if you come down to it.”

His role as an activist started with Bahrain’s crisis in 2011. The crisis created a social and sectarian divide, so with the generous endorsement of the Crown Prince, Algosaibi founded the Bahrain Foundation for Reconciliation and Civil Discourse (BFRCD) in 2012.

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The main purpose of BFRCD is to bring people together and bridge that sectarian gap: “What we try and do is that instead of people talking about each other, we try to get them to talk to each other.”

The BFRCD has organized nearly 60 events, workshops, public lectures, community visits and dialog dinners. “I learned a lot about dialog and conflict resolution in the last three years,” says Algosaibi. “It has become a big part of my life.”

Expressing that this is long-term process, he hopes that the fruits of BFRCD’s efforts will be reaped by generations to come.

Algosaibi’s biggest inspiration for everything he does is his late father, Ghazi Algosaibi. “I can’t imagine any role model for someone to have that would be better than my father. When I witnessed his steadfastness, his determination and his hard work, it had a huge impact on me.”

Algosaibi would always strive to be worthy of that name he carries, “The shadow cast is huge and the burden on my shoulders is heavy, but it always drives me forward.”

Proud father of three – Salma (14), Laith (12) and Tamim (7) – he says that he and his wife’s greatest achievement is their children. “We have wonderful kids, by God’s grace,” says Algosaibi. “They’re confident, happy and capable of overcoming challenges.” He attributes showering them with unconditional love while still being disciplined with them as the two main factors in building their characters.

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“As a father, if my children grow up to be well-educated adults, capable of overcoming life’s challenges; this will have been my greatest achievement.”

Apart from his role as a reconciliation activist, Algosaibi has been giving back to society through his businesses. The DreamBody Center’s Healthier and Happier initiative reinvests a portion of proceeds from new members back into society. So far, the money collected has built a playground for the Batelco Childcare Home.

“Our BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) for our Healthier and Happier Initiative is to positively influence the lives of 23 million people,” exclaims Algosaibi. “It’s lofty, but if you’re going to dream big, you should really dream big!”

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Being Socially Responsible

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Giving back to the community in countless ways.

By Tuba Saricimen

Feed the Need
Feed the Need is an initiative that was launched by Michelle Bailey with one aim in mind, to feed those who are in need. The idea came to her when she saw a photograph of a refrigerator placed outside a house in Riyadh to feed the hungry.

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In just two years, her website and 10,000-strong Facebook group has led to 20 refrigerators being placed in key locations around Bahrain. The refrigerators offer free food to those in need thanks to generous volunteers that regularly donate items such as long-life milk, eggs, cooking oil and bags of rice.
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Arab Youth Climate Movement
With the effect of climate change as a major issue worldwide and an urgent one regionally, the Arab Youth Climate Movement (AYCM) was established in 2012 in the MENA region followed by the establishment of its Bahrain chapter.

The main purpose of the AYCM is to raise awareness on climate change and to educate people on what they could do in order to lead sustainable lives, thereby making the world a better and cleaner place.

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Since their establishment, the AYCM has conducted awareness lectures, launched a citizen science program that encourages people to make observations of different species within their ecosystem and directed Bahrain Fort’s management to account for climate change in order to better preserve the fort.

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Ayadi Relief
A group of Bahrainis came together in 2010 with the vision of making a difference in the world and formed the first relief organization in Bahrain. Ayadi Relief officially launched in 2013 to provide relief, awareness and rehabilitation to poverty-stricken countries around the world. Its name, (Ayadi means hands in Arabic), emphasizes the importance of a helping hand whether it is through volunteering or donating. The organization has no set boundaries when it comes to specialization, age or faith.

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Covering its overhead using alternative means, Ayadi Relief invests 100% of all its donations directly into ongoing projects and humanitarian campaigns, including constructing houses, schools, medical clinics and water wells; providing emergency relief to disaster-affected areas; offering aid to numerous refugee camps and organizing awareness trips and events.
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Eating and making a difference at the same time.


Villa Mamas

Eating great food and contributing to society at the same time may seem far-fetched, but Villa Mamas is making that happen. With their numerous social responsibility initiatives in place, Villa Mamas leaves their guests with a clear conscience and a satisfied belly! Some of the incredible projects that they’ve initiated are:

  • Donating leftover food to an animal shelter.
  • Using leftover coffee as a fertilizer in their garden.
  • Selling used oil to mechanics for use in their garages.
  • Repurposing clean placemats as notepads for the servers.
  • Repurposing ketchup bottles to store spices.
  • Using shredded paper as bedding for gift baskets.
  • Donating jams to charities.

They’re currently planning to purchase a machine that composts waste products and then use that compost as fertilizer for their farm.

Villa Mamas offers an innovative twist to traditional food that leaves the taste buds content and happy. Their tahchin, a Persian rice cake delight, comes with pilaf rice, saffron-infused berries and juicy chicken.

Meanwhile, their Royal Tagine is a slow-cooked baby chicken stuffed with aromatic rice and a mixture of cranberries, cherries, mixed raisins and nuts. It truly adds the “royal” element to this classic Moroccan dish.

Tel: +973-17305031
Web: villamamas.com
Instagram: villamamas
Email: info@villamamas.com
Location: Near Saar Cineplex, Rd. No. 3374, Al Markh, Bahrain

Blissful Temptations

Blissful Temptations is a café located in Riyadat Mall, a mall established by Princess Sabeeka as an incubator to empower and support women who are starting on their path of entrepreneurship. The support includes low rental fees, accounting and advisory services, conferences and meeting rooms and an incubation period of three years.

Blissful Temptations took advantage of this offer and now present a tasty collection of cookies, cakes and many more delicious edibles. Whether you choose to dine in their pastel-colored setting, hire them to cater a function, or merely drop by to pick up a treat on the go, it’s impossible not to get tempted.

For a light lunch, you simply must try the goat cheese sandwich, served with a crunchy green apple salad and potato chips and pair it with a piping hot cup of coffee. The proverbial icing on the cake: enjoying your meal while knowing you’re helping a local entrepreneur reach her dreams!

Tel: +973-17217079
Instagram: blissfultemptations
Email: blissfultemptations.orders@gmail.com
Location: Riyadat Mall, Rd. No. 3206, A’ali

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Come house-hop with us through Bahrain’s culture and history.

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Bin Matar House

Salman Bin Matar was a renowned pearl merchant and caring humanitarian. Originally built as his majlis, this house was constructed using traditional Bahraini building styles, such as how houses close to the sea would use stones taken from the reefs and bind them together using clay. The roofs were constructed from wood imported from Africa, date palm trunks and weaved palm leaves.

The building now houses an art gallery as well as a small pearl museum showcasing tools of the pearl trade and a brief history of the Bin Matar family.

Location: Sheikh Abdullah Bin Isa Ave, Muharraq
Tel: +973-17322549

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Sheikh Isa bin Ali House

Located in Muharraq, this was once the official residence of Sheikh Isa bin Ali, ruler of Bahrain from 1869 – 1932. Walking distance from the Bin Matar House, you can see that the building enjoys much of the same traditional style and architecture. One very cool highlight is the wind tower (badqir) fitted with vertical air ducts that direct the wind from the outside, providing a clever and natural cooling system for the home and right into the majlis.

Location: Sheikh Abdullah bin Isa Ave, Muharraq
Tel: +973-17293820

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Al Jasra House (Beit Al Jasra)

Al Jasra House was a private residence of Shaikh Salman, ruler of Bahrain from 1942 – 1961. The rooms maintain the original and persevered furnishings and they surround a large courtyard which had a wooden platform (known as a seyam) that residents would sleep on during the hot summer months.

Location: Mazarea Hwy, Al Jasra
Tel: +973-17611454

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Al Jasra Handicraft Centre

This two-floor center is home to many different types of traditional Bahraini craftsmanship. Be it the hammering of the chest maker, the spinning of the pottery maker, or the oud-strumming of the musical instrument maker, visitors can watch artisans as they hone their craft, interact with them and even purchase some of their skillfully created items.

Location: Rd. No. 315, Al Jasra
Tel: +973-17611900

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Beit Al Quran

Beit Al Quran is an Islamic museum that houses various types of Islamic arts, from stone-etched calligraphy to carefully crafted Qur’anic manuscripts from throughout the Islamic empire across the centuries. It’s a marvel to see the shifts in typographies from age to age and the unique styles of each region.

Location: Rd. No. 1901, Diplomatic Area, Manama
Tel: +973-17290404

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Must-Have Items in a Bahraini Breakfast

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The early bird’s guide to traditional delicacies.

The taste of Bahrain is a unique and delicious one, enjoying a mixture of eggs, noodles, legumes and breads, enhanced with a medley of Indian and Arabian flavors and spices.

Some of the must-have items in a Bahraini breakfast are:
  • Balaleet: Sweet vermicelli topped with an omelet.

  • Baydh Tomat (Egg and Tomato): Eggs scrambled with crushed fresh tomatoes.

  • Nikhee (Chickpeas): Chickpeas fried in a Bahraini-style sauce.

  • Alo Chab: Fried potato kababs.

  • Alo: Sautéed potatoes with Bahraini spices.

  • Khubz Tannoor: Traditional Bahraini flat bread.

  • Mihyawa: Traditional Bahraini flat bread with fish sauce.

  • Karak: Tea brewed in evaporated milk.

  • Chai Haleeb (Tea with Milk): Tea brewed in fresh milk flavored with cardamom.

Try these places the next time you have a craving for a traditional Bahraini breakfast:
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Naseef Café

Located in a mall within the Bab Al Bahrain souq, Naseef Café is known for its locally famous ice creams, traditional breakfasts, lunches and dinners. The café is styled in a modern setting but decorated with old-fashioned Bahraini benches. Guests can either order their set breakfast platters or can construct a platter of their own depending on their preference. Breakfast is served on old-style trays and bowls, giving a sense of culture and tradition.

Tel: +973-39622882
Location: Bab Al Bahrain Mall, Al Mutanabi Ave, Manama

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Saffron by Jena

There are three locations, but you definitely have to check out their branch in Shaikh Salman Fort – also known as Riffa Fort. The fort itself is architecturally mesmerizing, a highlight of which is their exquisite doors carved with Qur’anic verses. As was Arab custom, the date of establishment of the fort and dates of great events were also preserved with phrases carved on the doors.

One can relax in the café’s outdoor seating overlooking the valley and enjoy a traditional Bahraini breakfast. Instead of a menu, there is a set breakfast platter that consists of traditional dishes with modern touches, such as baked beans, foul beans, mini grilled cheese sandwiches and alo chab sandwiches.

Tel: +973-39614131
Locations: Riffa Fort, Riffa / Souq Al Qasariya, Muharraq / Bab Al Bahrain, Manama


 

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Bahrain Through Our Lens: Marassi Beach

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Family oriented weekend fun. Somewhere in the north eastern coastline is a public beach strip like no other in Bahrain.

Marassi weekends presents various fun activities for adults and children from kite-surfing, water sports and volleyball matches for adults to camel rides, face painting, magic shows and balloon modeling for kids.

After a long day of fun and games, weekenders grab a bite to eat from one of the food trucks, relax on the numerous beanbags around the beach, and enjoy the end of a fun-filled day.

Instagram: @marassialbahrain

Website: marassialbahrain.com

Location:

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Funland Center Ice Skating

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Whether you’re an experienced figure skater, or a beginner trying to stay balanced, Funland Center Ice Skating Rink welcomes you all year round. Grab your jackets and head out for a day of cool fun! Cafes available inside the rink area.

Details:

PriceTime:Contact InfoLocation
  • Weekdays: 3 BHD per person, per two-hour session (including skate rental)
  • Thurs/Fri/Sat: 5 BHD per person, per two-hour session from 6:00 p.m. onwards.
  • Eid Holidays: 5 BHD per person, per two-hour session from 2:00 p.m. onwards.
9:00 a.m. – 01:00 a.m.
  • Tel: +973-17292313
  • Web: funlandbahrain.com 
Funland Centre is located in Manama along Al Fateh Highway, between Layali Zaman and Marina Club.

Location Map:

Also available: Bowling


Go Karting

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A pinch of competition, a pinch of adrenaline, a pinch of need for speed, and you’re all set for a thrilling Go-Karting experience. Head to the BIKC (Bahrain International Karting Circuit), put on your racing suits and helmets, listen to the safety briefing, and zoom through the laps. At the end of the race, your lap times will be emailed to you, or (optionally) posted on Facebook!

Age limitations:

Kids: 7 – 12 on Kids Track (minimum height 120 c.m.)

Adults: 13+ on Club Track (CIK Track)

*Fully closed flat shoes are mandatory*

Details:

PriceTime:Contact InfoLocation

Starting from 10 BHD per 15 minute session

Sunday & Monday 4:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. (on Sundays & Mondays age 13+ only -CIK/FIA Track configuration)

Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.

  • Tel: +973-17451745
  • Web: bahrain-karting.com
Gulf of Bahrain Avenue Umm Jidar 1062, Sakhir , Kingdom of Bahrain


Horseback Riding

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Love horseback riding but don’t know how? Love horseback riding and you’re great at it? Love horseback riding, but prefer to be a spectator?

Bahrain is a land full of riding schools to accommodate all your riding needs, no matter what your skill level is. All you need is to dress comfortably, call and book in advance, and you’re set to go!

Twin Palms Riding School

Age: 2 years to 60+

Details:

PriceTimeContact InfoLocation
  • Hack: Starting from 6 BHD
  • Private Lessons: Starting from 16 BHD per half hour 

Saturday – Thursday

7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. 

  • Tel: +973-39687755
  • Web: twinpalmsridingcentre.com 
Saar, Bahrain 

Al Salam Horse Riding School

Age: 8+

Details:

PriceTimeContact InfoLocation
5 BHD per 30 minutes 
2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Tel: +973-39632396
  • Web: alsalam-hrs.net76.net/en/en-index.html
Saar, Bahrain

Location Map:


Shakhoora Riding Center

Details:

PriceTimeLocation
  • Group Lessons:

8 BHD (adults)

6 BHD (children)

  • Private Lessons:

10 BHD (adults)

8 BHD (children) 

Sunday – Thursday

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

3:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

  • Tel: +973-17591103
  • Web: N/A 
Opposite BSPCA, Saar 

Laser Tag

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Ozone Entertainment Center

Tag! You’re IT! Not quite!

Laser Tag! You’re out!!

Enjoy a day of fun and entertainment, running around, hiding, dodging lasers, and tagging out your friends!

Age: If you’re old enough to hold a laser gun, you’re old enough to play!

Dress Comfortably

Gear provided

Details:

PriceTimeContact InfoLocation
  3.5 BHD 
  • Weekdays 12:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
  • Weekends: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
  • Tel:+973-1712 5162
  • Web: oz1.com 
Sitra Mall

Location Map:

Also Available:

Bowling, Foosball, Gaming, Billiards

Bookings available for parties

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A Serious Space for Serious Art

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Founder of Al Riwaq Art Space shares her passion and inspiration.

Who is Bayan Al Barak?

I am a lover and collector of art from the Middle East and Persia. The same passion which has driven me to preserve the aesthetic heritage of the Arab World as a collector, led me to meeting friends and artists who would cultivate my taste and inform my founding of Al Riwaq Art Space in 1998. Having a clear taste allowed me certain independence; we were the only art space in Bahrain showing contemporary modern art, and we faced a lot of resistance, but I was ready to keep fighting until modern art was respected on the same level as traditional art.

We play very distinct and complimentary roles which feed into the cultural production of Bahrain and out into the region.

We play very distinct and complimentary roles which feed into the cultural production of Bahrain and out into the region.

What led you to establishing a contemporary art space such as Al Riwaq Art Space?

The function of Al Riwaq Art Space is more dynamic than a gallery. Artwork is not just displayed, it is a space for education where we run workshops and give public talks. It is a space for artists to develop their artistic practice and evolve. My approach to developing Al Riwaq Art Space is personal: often I’d met and developed artists from their beginnings, pushing them for residencies and giving them curatorial guidance throughout their careers. We play very distinct and complimentary roles which feed into the cultural production of Bahrain and out into the region. Sometimes it’s a challenge, but this is what inspires me and excites me to keep going.

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What is your vision with Al Riwaq Art Space?

I am interested in evolving Al Riwaq Art Space as a space for alternative education and creating a platform for emerging artists who may not have access to formal education. We have already been creating initiatives such as the artBahrain/The Nest Annual Art Prize for this purpose, but I intend to expand on this in the coming years.

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What would you say is the biggest accomplishment of Al Riwaq Art Space?

The establishment of Alwan 338 and showing public art was a huge step forward for Al Riwaq Art Space. Being able to showcase unconventional art in public spaces means a lot for us, as art is not just about collecting; it’s about changing mindsets. As an institution, when you are able to effect change in how people accept unconventional ideas, you can break barriers on a cultural level.

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What advice do you have for emerging young artists in the GCC?

We encourage artists to take themselves and their practice seriously, so that they will be taken seriously on an international level. I encourage you to see and experience regional and international art, to explore your own tastes and to also gain perspective of your art on a global level.

Location: Osama Bin Zaid Ave., Manama
Tel: +973-17717441

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