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Culture

Bahrain Fort: Ancient Castle and Capital of Dilmun

July 08, 2020
 One of the most important tourist attractions and best landmarks in Bahrain is the Bahrain Fort (Qal'at al-Bahrain) or the Portuguese Fort as it is called, and the castle’s history dates back to the fourteenth century AD, but the castle was provided with other buildings during different eras such as the Portuguese rule of Bahrain.   It is located in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, in the Seef district on the seashore, and it is one of the best places that tourists like to visit for its historical and architectural importance, and it is worth noting that the castle was included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage.   Located only a 10-minute drive west of Manama, on an ancient hill (hills created by centuries of urban reconstruction), the majestic Bahrain Fort overlooks the bay. Built by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century, as well as that it is believed to be the capital of the ancient Dilmun Empire. As you wander through the air fossils of residential, commercial, public, military, and religious buildings, don’t forget that humans have inhabited this site continuously since 2300 BC.   This is where the most important discoveries of Dilmun were found in Bahrain, and it provides an outstanding example not only of the strength of Dilmun but also of its successors during the Tylos and Islamic periods. The castle is backed by an elegant and modern visitor center and an excellent museum, where you can pick up a free audio guide. When you're done wandering through the ruins, be sure to enjoy wonderful sea views with a drink in the Museum Café.

What is the Bahrain Fort?

Bahrain's rich commercial history, known as Dilmun in ancient times, is reflected in many archaeological sites, the most prominent of which is the Qal'at al-Bahrain site registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort is located on top of an artificial hill covering an area of ​​17.5 hectares which was built over more than 4000 years of continuous occupation. It is the site of the former capital Dilmun and one of the most archaeological sites in the Arabian Gulf. Excavations over the past fifty years have revealed residential, public, commercial, and military structures that attest to the importance of the site over the centuries. These results are brought to life through an audio guide available in the site museum. The museum’s display area has been open to the public since 2008, and it consists of 5 exhibition halls organized around a huge mound wall. With a display of 500 artifacts, the site's long settlement history is displayed to the unique background of the wall, which recreates the various exposed artifacts on the site. The museum café facing the sea offers stunning views of the fort and the surrounding palm groves.  

How old is Bahrain fort?

The area is believed to have been occupied for about 5,000 years and contains valuable insight into the copper and bronze ages of Bahrain. The first Fort was built about three thousand years ago, in the northeastern peak of Bahrain Island. The history of the current fortress dates back to the sixth century AD.  

Bahrain Fort Description

Bahrain’s Fort has great historical importance due to its use as the capital of the Delmon civilization, Portuguese garrison, commercial port, apartment building, and religious center. It was built from an artificial hill of 12 meters (40 feet) high, formed by human settlers from 2300 BC. to the eighteenth century, it was later rebuilt using the Greco-Roman style. This square-shaped structure consists of high-quality stones and turrets on the four corners (two of which form the main entrance), weapons, artifacts, and holes in the strategic sites used to shoot arrows, red Hellenistic tiles, coins, and a trench.  

Things to do at Bahrain Fort:

  • You can walk around the castle and see the buildings and forts left by previous civilizations, all made of stone and occupying a castle measuring 16 square meters, and includes the archeology remaining from different times in Bahraini history. 
  • Your visit should also include archaeological excavations documenting the presence of people in this area during the BC period, especially 2300 BC, and you should also visit the original forms with a distinctive shape suitable to take some great memorial photos, especially at night. 
  • Don’t forget to visit the museum, which was created inside the castle area, which is a wall with a height of 8 meters, and this wall contains archaeological layers from different eras, and inside this wall, there are 5 graded halls, all of them ascending request. 
  • Because Qal'at al-Bahrain is located right next to the seashore, you must go across the beach and witness the beauty and tranquility of the waters of the Arabian Gulf sea. Also, you can take pictures of the sea and the castle together.

Museum Café

Enjoy a fabulous evening with the best sea views from any terrace on the island, this cafe is the perfect place to end the afternoon to explore Bahrain Fort. Sip your locally grounded aromatic coffee, drink divine cakes from local bakeries, and watch the mudflats come to life with birds.  

What hotels are near Qal'at al-Bahrain?

This marvelous fort offers plenty of hotels near it, for example, you will find InterContinental Regency Bahrain hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, and Downtown Rotana hotel, in addition to Elite Grande hotel and Le Méridien City Centre Bahrain.  

Restaurants near Qal'at al-Bahrain:

If you are looking for great restaurants near the fort you will find many of them such as Le Chocolat, Maya La Chocolaterie, Elevation Burger, and Paul Bakery and Kunefeci‎.  

What attractions are near Qal'at al-Bahrain?

When you visit Bahrain Fort, you can also enjoy seeing other attractions located near it such as The Raven's Nest, The Sultan Center, Al-Fatih Mosque (Great Mosque), Saar Mall, and Sitra Mall.

Also, Read:

Dilmun Civilization: The ancient civilization of the Gulf

Famous Castles Around the World: Discover the best world’s castles

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