I wasn’t aware until that Bahrain has a second cemetery for Christians and that, too, in the heart of the one of the country’s most congested neighbourhoods.
Salmabad, as it is known, is not only home to hundreds of thousands of blue-collared expatriate workers, it is also one of Bahrain’s most well-known workshop areas, where one can repair anything and everything – from automobiles to electrical gadgets and get anything ‘constructed’ from scratch, to fit any specifications!
I have always known there is a historic cemetery in the Gudaibya neighbourhood and that’s it. However, when I decided to take a walk as I waited for the car to get fixed, I happened to see the sign pointing towards the place.
As I researched, it emerged that the graveyard dates back to several decades ago and complements the Old Christian Cemetery, which was first established in Gudaibiya in 1901.
Among those buried there are victims of a British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) crash on August 22, 1948 that killed seven people; the August 23, 2000 Gulf Air crash that killed 143 people, and the Al Dana dhow tragedy on March 30, 2006, when 58 people were killed aboard a converted fishing boat that capsized off the coast of Muharraq.
Some are war graves, British servicemen as well as victims of the Air France crashes that happened in Bahrain years ago.
These cemeteries contain history, stories of the community and their presence in Bahrain.