Bahrain, officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, is a small island country situated near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is an archipelago with Bahrain Island, 34 miles long by 11 miles wide. Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway while Iran lies 124 miles to the north across the Persian Gulf. The peninsula of Qatar is to the southeast across the Gulf of Bahrain. The population in 2010 stood at 1,234,571, including 666,172 non-nationals.
Bahrain is believed to be the site of the ancient land of the Dilmun civilization and later came under the rule of successive Parthian and Sassanid Persian empires. The country was one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam in 628 AD. Following a period of Arab rule, Bahrain was occupied by the Portuguese in 1521, who in turn were expelled in 1602 by Shah Abbas I of the Safavid empire. In 1783, the Bani Utbah tribe captured Bahrain from the Qajars and has since been ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family, with Ahmed al Fateh the first hakim of Bahrain. In the late 1800s, following successive treaties with the British, Bahrain became a protectorate of the United Kingdom. Following the withdrawal of the British from the region in the late 1960s, Bahrain declared independence in 1971. Formerly a state, Bahrain was declared a "Kingdom" in 2002. Since early 2011, the country has experienced sustained protests and unrest inspired by the regional Arab Spring, particularly by the majority Shia population. Oil was discovered in Bahrain in 1932, the first such find on the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf.
Bahrain has the first "post-oil" economy in the Persian Gulf because the Bahraini economy does not rely on oil. Since the late 20th century, Bahrain has heavily invested in the banking and tourism sectors. The country's capital, Manama is home to many large financial structures. Bahrain has a high Human Development Index (ranked 48th in the world) and was recognized by the World Bank as a high income economy.
RITZ CARLTON BAHRAIN
The Ritz Carlton Bahrain is located on a private island between Manama Bay and the city, with views to the turquoise Arabian Gulf.
Large oceanfront pool and garden complex
Ned Capeleris, Hotel Manager, was a true friend to us during our stay and made certain our every need and wish was fulfilled. “Thank you, Ned!”
Harman and Ned had a special bond.
Lobby and lobby lounge
We enjoyed our daily delicious breakfast buffet in La Med.
Indoor pool and spa
Ritz Gourmet Lounge for afternoon tea
Executive Lounge for evening drinks and appetizers
Bedroom sitting area
Welcome treat. Everything on the plate is made of chocolate including the picture of the hotel and our family logo!
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF BAHRAIN
The National Museum of Bahrain possesses a rich collection of Bahrain's ancient archaeological artifacts acquired since 1988, and covers 6000 years of Bahrain's history. The complex includes three halls devoted to archaeology and the ancient civilization of the Dilmun, while two other halls depict the culture and lifestyle of Bahrain's recent pre-industrial past.
In 1993 a further hall was opened, the Natural History Hall, focusing on the natural environment of Bahrain. This hall features specimens of Bahrain's flora and fauna. Among the exhibits in the ancient history section is an actual burial mound which was transported from its site in the desert and reassembled in the museum. Another feature is a tableau which depicts a scene from the Epic of Gilgamesh (in which reference to Bahrain is made as the paradise of Dilmun).
Old Quranic manuscripts, notes on astronomy and historical documents and letters are exhibited in the Documents and Manuscripts Hall.
The National Theater of Bahrain lies next to the museum.
If you only had one day in Manama, this would be the place to visit.
The National Theater of Bahrain
QALAT AL BAHRAIN MUSEUM AND FORT
The Bahrain Museum and Fort is an archaeological site located only two miles from the Ritz Carlton Bahrain. It is a small museum plus the remains of the fort that can easily be toured on your way to another place you are visiting. Archaeological excavations carried out since 1954 have unearthed antiquities from an artificial mound of 39 feet height containing seven stratified layers, created by various occupants from 2300 BC up to the 18th century. It was once the capital of the Dilmun civilization and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.
TREE OF LIFE AND OIL FIELDS
On one of our days in Bahrain, Ned Capeleris, the hotel manager, arranged for Rashid Rahman Khunji, The Ritz Carlton Guest Relations Ambassador, to take us on a private tour outside the city of Manama to the oil fields with the destination being the “Tree of Life”, about an hour’s drive.
The Tree of Life is an approximately 400 year-old, 32 ft high tree located in the middle of the desert surrounded by oil fields. The tree is the only major tree growing in the area and is visited by approximately 50,000 tourists every year.
It is worth visiting for the sheer reason of everything about Bahrain and its culture you see getting there and back.
The King’s palace from a distance
The King’s camel farm
Royal Golf Club
Historic Sheik Salman Bin Ahmed Alfateh Fort
Typical residential area
Bahrain National Gas Company
The oil fields
Bahrain was the first place on the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf where oil was discovered, and it coincided with the collapse of the world pearl market.
Direction to the Oil Museum and the First Oil Well
The First Oil Well
Rashid Rahman Khunji, the Ritz Carlton Guest Relations Ambassador, and our driver, beside the location of the First Oil Well
Harman and Jan beside the location of the First Oil Well
The Tree of Life
This was a great way and a fitting end to our fantastic three weeks in the Middle East!