The Qal’at Bahrain is actually a classic tell, which is a mound created by stratified layers produced by successive occupation by humans, located in the Northern Region of Bahrain. It is the biggest tell in the region. The area has been continuously occupied for nearly five thousand years since around 2300 BC. Civilizations that have lived here include the Persians, the Kassites and the Dilmuns who used it as the capital of their empire. An imposing Portuguese fort, formerly called the Qal’at Al Portugal, is located right on top of the twelve metre mound and gives the area its name. It is now referred to as Qal’at Al Bahrain, and is also called the Fort of Bahrain or simply the Bahrain Fort.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 the Qal’at Al Bahrain is considered a must visit when in the region. It is on Bahrain island roughly six kilometres from the northeast coast, close to the Bahraini capital of Manama. Roughly a quarter of the site has been excavated since 1954. The area is a veritable treasure trove of archaeological riches and contains a Shakhura necropolis, an Al-Maqsha necropolis, a Madmat Isa necropolis, a Madimat Hermand necropolis, a Al-Hajjar necropolis, a Saar necropolis, and a Kassite Palace. Archaeologists have unearthed a vast number of artefacts including metal work by the Dilmun and pottery by the Barbar civilizations.
While not really considered a tourist hub Bahrain is the ideal destination for foreigners who want to experience authentic Arab culture in a somewhat westernized setting. The Kingdom of Bahrain is pretty liberal for a Gulf nation and is less restrictive than most Middle Eastern countries. The archipelago is well-known for its gorgeous beaches and the annual Bahrain Gran Prix.
Infrastructure in the country is generally good although using public transport can be pretty confusing at first. Metered taxis are also freely available although it is sometimes best to agree on a fare beforehand. When it comes to Bahrain accommodation the Somerset Al Fateh Bahrain is a good place to try. Combining top notch facilities with a convenient location they offer some of the best Bahrain serviced apartments around.
Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.