This was once the gateway to Bahrain – the ‘main door’ – from where everyone entered the island kingdom, also called Bab Al Bahrain – entrance to Bahrain.
That was, however, until the early 1960’s, after which gradually, things began to change and reclamation became the order of the day.
I once met an elderly gentleman who said he came to Bahrain by steamer from India more than 50 years ago, which stopped a few nautical miles off the gateway pictured here. He then had to get on a rickety old row boat that brought him ashore but not before he and all his belongings, were drenched.
That was then. Now, there is construction – roads, buildings, the Bahrain Financial Harbour, the Bahrain Bay and what have you, for a couple of kilometers where the sea once was – and it hasn’t stopped.
Where we see cars parked now and traffic moving was where the boat docked. The gateway was even then a majestic structure as seen in this picture.
Of course, over time, Bahrain has become very crowded, and very modern. The old buildings have given way to new development, and the Bab Al Bahrain has a spanking new look, in the process becoming one of the most modern ‘old’ buildings in the country.
It makes me wonder – whenever I take a walk in the area – whether all this development is worth it. What was life like back in the day? No, or very few cars, lots of bicycles, a few trucks, donkey, horse and hand carts, and no pollution!
Sometimes I wish to go back in time to take a look – and maybe never return. A few years down the line, even this will be history with perhaps a sky train and hovercraft all over the place.
That’s what time does – to an individual, a nation, to its very structure. And that very time waits for no one. So we take it in our stride!