As the smallest country in the Gulf, and one of the smallest in the world, it’s probably okay to admit you don’t know what Bahrain is famous for.
But the history of Bahrain is truly fascinating, and there are some amazing archaeological and cultural sites just waiting for you to visit.
To help you out, we’ve rounded up some of the most famous things in Bahrain, from the Grand Prix circuit in Sakhir to the iconic Bahrain World Trade Centre in Manama.
Al Fateh Grand Mosque
One of Bahrain’s most iconic landmarks, this mosque is a must visit on any trip to the Kingdom. It’s the biggest in Bahrain, and one of the biggest in the world - but what really makes the Al Fateh Grand Mosque special is the fibreglass dome on top. It’s the world’s largest made out of fibreglass, and weighs more than 60 tonnes.
Bahrain International Circuit
Tens of thousands of tourists travel to Bahrain for the Grand Prix every March, and the track in Sakhir was the first in the Middle East to host an F1 weekend. In 2014, the race was held under floodlights for the first time, becoming the second ever night-time Grand Prix.
Bahrain World Trade Centre
No picture of the Manama skyline would be complete without the Bahrain World Trade Centre, which was recently named as one of the most influential skyscrapers in the world. Aside from its unique look, the skyscraper was the first large-scale integration of wind turbines in a tall building. The two towers are designed to funnel wind through to the turbines to maximise the energy they generate.
Dilmun Burial Mounds
Built between 2050 and 1750BCE, the Dilmun Burial Mounds are one of the most important cultural sites in Bahrain, and one of the most famous. The mounds, which are scattered across the Kingdom, were given UNESCO world heritage site status last year. It is believed that the mounds were once the world’s largest graveyard, and they showcase the rich culture in the area at a time when Bahrain became a trade hub.
When complete, Dive Bahrain is set to be the world’s largest underwater theme park at 100,000 sq m. The ambitious project saw an entire Boeing 747 submerged last year, and will see dozens more attractions added in the next few years. You can already visit the sunken jet plane which is now home to plenty of wildlife and coral.
The Khamis Mosque is believed to be one of the oldest mosques in the world, first built around 692AD. The current structure at the site dates to the 14th and 15th centuries when it was reconstructed.
Bahrain is famed for its pearls, and the best way to explore this history is through the Pearling Path in Muharraq. The path, another UNESCO world heritage site, follows buildings owned by pearl diving families and the Bu Maher Fort which served as the gateway to and from the sea.
Tree of Life
The tree of life is somewhat of a mystery to scientists, thriving out in the desert with no obvious water source nearby. It’s nearly 400 years old, and attracts plenty of visitors from abroad.
Another UNESCO world heritage site, Qal’at al Bahrain, or Bahrain Fort, dates back to the Portuguese occupation of the Kingdom, although people had settled on this site for thousands of years before this. The museum on the site gives visitors a deeper insight into the important archaeological discoveries here and the different periods of Bahrain history starting with the Dilmun Empire.