Bahrain Forts

Bahrain Fort (Qalat Al-Bahrain)

Known as Dilmun in ancient times, Bahrain's rich trading history is reflected in numerous archaeological digs around the island. Bahrain Fort (Qalat Al-Bahrain) is among the most exciting of them and is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The fort is located atop a 17.5 hectare artificial hill that has been built while enduring over 4,000 years of continuous occupation. It is also the site of the former capital of Dilmun and is one of the most prolific archaeological digs in the Arabian Gulf. Excavations over the past 50 years have revealed residential, public, commercial, and military structures that testify to the importance of that location over the centuries.

Open to the public since 2008, the site museum display area consists of 5 exhibition halls organized around the massive Tell Wall with over 500 artifacts showcased and many interesting layers of its historical legacy have been revealed which is further highlighted with the use of an audio guide available to visitors.

Additionally, there is a seaside café nearby, which offers a stunning view of the fort and the surrounding palm groves.

Arad Fort

Strategically located as a sea passage, Arad fort is a typical example of Omani military architecture at the end of the 15th and early 16th centuries. This fort was once the site of fierce battles and underwent different construction phases.

Although it is not clear when it was constructed, it has played a major role in the defense of Bahrain against marauders through the centuries. It was restored in the 1980s using only authentic material. It is nicely illuminated at night and hosts seasonal festivals throughout the year.

Sheikh Salman bin Ahmed Al-Fateh Fort (Riffa Fort)

Sheikh Salman bin Ahmed Al-Fateh Fort, commonly known as Riffa Fort due to its location in Riffa (the second largest city in Bahrain), is a historic landmark standing witness to one of the most important junctures in Bahrain's history. Within its beautiful architecture lives the memory of the ruling family of Bahrain, the Al Khalifas.

A series of programs organized by the Ministry of Culture have brought life back to the fort and not only present a chronological history of the Al Khalifa family but showcase the interior space designed by the French firm, La Meduse and the local engineering firm, PAD, which took its inspiration from the fort's history and people.

The fort houses a small museum which documents the history and traditions of the ruling Al Khalifa family. This interactive permanent exhibition was installed in a free standing pavilion built within the larger courtyard of the Fort and was designed to highlight the historical architectural features of the Fort.

The fort also houses the Saffron café, which overlooks the picturesque Al-Haniniya valley, offering visitors the perfect ambience created by the site's history and environment.

Bu Maher Fort

Bu Maher Fort is located in the south of the city of Muharraq, and was first built during the Portuguese occupation of Bahrain in 1840. Renovation works on the fort commenced in the 1970's, during which only some of it was rebuilt. In 2010, excavation works carried at the site uncovered its original foundations and dimensions.

This fort which once has served as the main fishing harbor and gateway to and from the sea, is steeped in seafaring and pearling history and forms the starting point in the Historical Pearling Trail, which the Ministry of Culture succeeded in inscribing as a World Heritage Site in 2012. A dedicated visitor center was established next to the fort which houses an illustrated map of the Pearling Trail and models of the sites that can be found along the way.

The Bu Maher Fort 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. It can be accessed via the sea by boats that depart from Bahrain's National Museum harbor.