Warm and Welcoming Bahrain

By Shereen Shabnam

While working for an Architecture firm that also specialised in providing 360 solutions for science centres and museums in the past, we won the contract to look after the Bahrain Science Centre which also meant doing the Marketing and PR of the centre and travelling to Bahrain every two weeks.

The thought of spending a few days in Bahrain always put a smile on my face as the vibe is always positive and there is so much to discover around the island – my best memories are from the Amwaj Islands and the Bahrain International Circuit.

My favourite Bahrain adventures include discovering the emerging art, music, culture, fashion and foodie scene and boutique outlets dotted across the city. Some of my best dresses and scarves are from boutiques in Bahrain.

As epicentre of the Gulf’s pearling past, Bahrain has rich history to reflect on but being a petrol head, my first priority is usually events at the circuit and attending the Formula 1 Grand Prix. More recently, I drove a large UD truck around the circuit. It was memorable and certainly different from testing sports cars on the race circuits.

From the beauty and serenity of the azure waters surrounding the island to the bustling financial hubs, Bahrain is a multilayered and multicultural destination that offers the perfect balance between modern and traditional living.

Bahrain, which means ‘two seas’ is best visited during the cooler months as the best part is actually walking through the small alleyways, discovering new art galleries, food concepts and of course packs of spices to bring back home. The Gold Souq is interesting to walk through as well while chatting with the friendly locals who are ready to tell stories over a cup of tea or kahwa (Arabic coffee).

Food is a big part of the social scene in Bahrain and there was always a new restaurant to try. We loved the small bakeries for khubz (oven-baked flatbread), shawarmas (Meat wraps), falafel (deep-fried chickpea patties), balaleet (sweet vermicelli and eggs), kheema (minced meat) and of course long afternoon mandi lunches with rice and succulent meat.

Working in an architecture firm meant we kept our eyes open for breathtaking architecture and Bahrain had plenty that delighted our senses such as the Bahrain National Theatre that looks like a mother of pearl jewellery box, beautiful mosques, the towers in and around the Bahrain Financial Harbour, and buildings that incorporated wind turbines into its design.

The Qal’at al-Bahrain (Bahrain Fort) is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a must visit and so is the Bahrain National Museum which exhibits historical artefacts ranging from seals and coins to ancient burial mounds. Other places of interest in Bahrain include the camel farms, pottery, Muharraq Souq, the majestic Al Fateh Mosque and of course the 400-year-old tree of life and we are yet to find the secret of its survival in the desert without water.

The Beit Al Quran is another place to visit as it has a rich collection of Qurans and books from some of the most renowned Muslim writers from across the world. For kids, a must stop is the Lost Paradise of Dilmun Water Park themed around the ancient Dilmun civilization and the Al Areen Wildlife Park which is a zoo and a natural reserve.

Bahrain is definitely worth a visit anytime of the year as it has a lot to offer no matter what age you are and what type of holiday gets your pulses racing.

 

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