The summer is upon us in Bahrain. And the folks of migratory birds that flock to this tiny island throughout the winter are on their way out – or are they?
These few seagulls and a solitary (what looks like) stork were all that were visible on the Arad coast, which is normally “infested” with our feathered friends lat weekend – a sure sign that the deadly heat is not far away.
Until a couple of days ago, I wasn’t even aware this place exists in Bahrain.
However, a visit to Muharraq’s Coast Guard base revealed the excavations and restoration that have been going on for years.
The site is now in the final stages of completion and a new museum will open shortly. And this will throw light on the ancient pearling industry in this tiny island nation.
Bu Maher Fort was first built during the Portuguese occupation of Bahrain. Renovation works first commenced in the 1970’s, during which only some of it was rebuilt but in 2010, excavation works had the site uncovered until its original foundations and dimensions were visible.
The fort represents the first step on Bahrain’s historic Pearling Trail, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A dedicated visitor center, established next to the fort, houses an illustrated map of the Pearling Trail and models of the sites that can be found along the way.
The visitor center aims to introduce the public to the architectural character that went hand in hand with the traditional pearling trade, as well as highlighting its surrounding environment both within Bahrain and beyond, and building an understanding of the social components of that era.
The Ministry of Culture also now offers daily trips by sea from the Bahrain National Museum to the fort, which help shed light on part of the story of Bahrain’s traditional pearl divers and sailors, and enable people to re-live some of their experiences and sea expeditions.
This is especially so since the Bu Maher Fort and its coastline was the spot from which pearling dhows departed and returned many months later.
The ever-glorious sunrise at Bahrain’s Al Dar Islands – one of the perfect getaway’s on the weekend. A short boat ride from the mainland, it’s a dream destination, with its luxury chalets, open air restaurants and lots of song, dance and barbecue.
We have had the privilege of visiting several times, most notably when the chalets were ready but not yet sanctioned by the authorities – and that is when we were the only one’s on the island – along with a dog and a donkey – not to mention the millions of fish in the surrounding pristine waters. No visit to Al Dar is complete without waking up to see the rising sun and taking a walk on the beach – barefoot, if possible – and wading in the shallow waters.