Travel DestinationsDiscover Ancient Qal’at al-Bahrain - Heriatge Site of Dilmun

Discover Ancient Qal’at al-Bahrain – Heriatge Site of Dilmun


Bahrain, the smallest Arabian island nation but houses many heritage sites and has a diverse culture and history. In our previous blog, we have discussed the Burial Mounds of Dilmun. But you know there is another UNESCO Heritage site which is the capital of Dilmun! The ancient harbour – Qal’at al- Bahrain or Bahrain Fort is the heritage site that drags the attention of many travellers with its impressive ruined architecture. It helps in strengthening the heritage of this Arab nation.

Let’s know more about this ancient world heritage site in brief. 

Know the Ancient Harbour – Qal’at al-Bahrain

The Qal’at al-Bahrain, a huge monument with relics of many cultures, is one of Bahrain’s most important historic sites. The property sits about 5.5 km west of Bahrain’s capital, Manama, in the Northern Governorate of Al Qalah village district on the northern coast. It is a classic tell, a man-made monument formed by multiple layers of human occupancy from 2300 BC to the 16th century AD.

Ancient Harbour, Qal’at al-Bahrain
Ancient Harbour, Qal’at al-Bahrain / Image Credit:

It is dotted with the relics of the several civilizations that once ruled the fort and its surrounding. Here the remains are so well-preserved that visitors can get a different insight into Persian Gulf history. Its cross-sections depict the island’s history over 4,000 years, from the early Dilmun culture through the Islamic and modern periods. From the Portuguese to the Persians, various conquerors have left their mark.

Chronicles of Qal’at Al-Bahrain

If you learn the history of Qal’at al-Bahrain at Bahrain Museum you will be surprised that how many rulers were behind this site. Let’s begin, Bahrain was strategically placed on major maritime trade routes, making it important to many powerful kingdoms and empires. Thus several nations and civilizations were trying to occupy this site for major trade routes. Qal’at al-Bahrain was the capital of the ancient Empire of Dilmun that ruled Eastern Arabia.

Ruins of ancient Dilmun Civilization
Ruins of ancient Dilmun Civilization / Image Credit:

Bahrain thereafter became a Persian Empire dependency. The island flourished after the arrival of Islam when it became part of the Umayyad and Abbasid Empires. The Qarmathian Republic had a stronghold in Qal’at al-Bahrain. Various dynasties occupied the fort, many of whom were influenced by Persia. In the 15th century, the Portuguese invaded the Persian Gulf, capturing Bahrain and constructing the fort that still stands today.

Bahrain Fort

Bahrain fort is erected on the biggest hill in the area. In comparison to the other two major historical forts in Bahrain, this fort is the largest and oldest. It is the only fort in the world that has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its history dates back to 2000 BC.

Bahrain Fort
Bahrain Fort / Image Credit:

The Portuguese fort, which dates from the 15th century and is considered one of the most prominent features on the site. The fortress’s construction and style reveal the traditions of Portugal. The fortress’s walls are well-preserved and still, looks remain magnificent after 5 centuries. Only a fifth of this mound was excavated and important archaeological artefacts are predicted to be unearthed later.

Also Read: Visit The Historic City of Salzburg- An Ardent UNESCO Site Of Austria

Other Things to View Here

Beautiful scenery and date trees surround Qal’at al-Bahrain. The terrain has stayed mostly unchanged for more than 2000 years. It is possible to visit several of the Portuguese-built rooms. The Portuguese fort is the most visible structure on the archaeological site, yet it is far from being the only one.

Archway of Bahrain Fort
Archway of Bahrain Fort / Image Credit: Ruins of ancient Dilmun Civilization

Archaeologists have also found a lighthouse – on the site, which is estimated to be one of the oldest structures discovered at that time. There is also a sea canal near this structure, indicating that this region was once a major marine hub for ages.

Check Out Qal’at al-Bahrain Museum

The fort was a melting pot of civilizations and its pieces of evidence you can see at the Bahrain Museum. It is sat at the Gulf’s crossroads and welcomed visitors from all around the region and beyond. The Bahraini government has constructed a museum near the fort that has exhibits unearthed from the tell and depicts the fort’s numerous historical periods, with artefacts from every time of the fort’s and tell’s history on display. Numerous Sumerian, Assyrian, Persian and other findings made at the tell and artefacts from Bronze Age civilizations you can find here.

Reaching Qal’at al-Bahrain

The fort and the archaeological site are situated around 4 miles from Manama, the capital, on Bahrain’s north shore. Near Qal’at Bahrain there are many accommodations. The fort is free of charge and guests can access self-guided audio devices. The entrance charge to the museum simply costs a few cents in Bahrain dinar.

The optimum time to go is about two or three hours before sunset. It’s only that after viewing the Museum, you don’t miss the view of the fort at night. After dusk, the fort is even more lovely with the lights turned on.

If you enjoy ancient origin and want to learn more about the historic sites that depict the glorious eras then you must visit these heritage sites of Bahrain.

Also Read: Dilmun Burial Mounds – An Offbeat Heritage Site of Bahrain

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