World Travels: Bahrain
Our last stop before we head back to our familiar home countries is Bahrain. Most people have never heard of this tiny island because it is the smallest of all Arab countries and rarely makes news. This is the way that the locals prefer to have it. This little island is considered to be like Dubai without all the glitz.
Bahrain is not only rich in oil but it is also rich in underwater pearls. Even though this is such a small island country there is plenty to see and do and what makes it even better is the fact that it is one of the most easy going of the Persian/Arabian Gulf states and because of that it’s a great introduction to the region. Bahrain is 100 miles east of our last destination, Qatar.
The capital of Bahrain is Manama and the population is just over 1.2 million people as of 2010. The official language is Arabic. Bahrain is a little island on the western shores of the Persian Gulf and it was once a part of the Emirates however it was declared a kingdom in 2002.
Over 80% of residents in Bahrain are Muslim but there are also Christians (about 10%) and Hindus and other religions (about 10%) as well. Bahrain is sometimes described as ‘Middle East Lite’ due to it’s combination of modern infrastructure with a Persian Gulf identity. While Islam is the main religion Bahrainis are known for their tolerance towards the practices of other faiths. (source: Wikipedia)
We are staying at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel which is amazing. Our room is a suite the size of a two bedroom apartment and has 1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and an office. You can take a look at their website by clicking here!
If you would like to get an idea of some of the music from this region here is a track from the musician Hashim al-Alawi who was born in Manama, Bahrain: Little Velvet by Hashim al-Alawi or you can check out his SoundCloud where he has other tracks as well: SoundCloud of Hashim al-Alawi it’s a really nice mix of ambient and electronic music!
According to Wikipedia and United Nations Development Programme Ali Bahar is the most famous singer in Bahrain. You can watch the video below to hear him sing.
There are many things to see in Bahrain as well. You can go to the Bahrain National Museum to experience 5,000 years of history in one place; there are pottery workshops and modern art to see; or you can go birdwatching in Al-Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve and try to get a glimpse of some of the over 240 bird species here.
Other things to do include diving for pearls, swimming with dolphins in the calm waters of the Gulf, explore modern Bahrain’s alter ego in the old-style architecture of Muharraq Island as well as spot flamingos and cormorants en mass on the Hawar Islands.
If you want to experience the food and drink of the region you might want to try nekheh, bajelah and loobah which are a trio of spicy bean soups; makboos which is rice and spices served with chicken, lamb or fish; or khabees which is a date-laden dessert. They are also known for their fresh fruit juices and cardamom-infused Arabic-style coffee.
Going back to religion for a moment there’s an interesting fact that the creative interpretation of some ancient texts has led some historians to conclude that Bahrain is the true Garden of Eden of biblical fame. That might be a worthy reason to visit for some of you right there.
Like Qatar, Bahrain also has man-made islands that are areas full of luxury homes and amenities. Here is a little segment from a European news station regarding Bahrain as well. Click here to watch the video.
So this concludes the Middle East portion of my travels. Join me next week when I take you back to my birth country, the Czech Republic. See you then!