While still very much under the radar, the tiny island nation of Bahrain is slowly but surely becoming more and more popular with tourists. The country is famous for its Middle Eastern atmosphere and culture, bustling capital, and kilometers of sandy beaches.
Travelers who are planning a visit to this country will be pleased to hear that they may now apply for a Bahrain eVisa. The electronic visa program was launched in 2016 and allows visitors from more than 100 countries to apply online for this quick and easy travel authorization.
Likewise, Bahrain is famous for many things, from its stylish architecture to its museums, tourist attractions, and even nature — here are six places to get acquainted with:
Bahrain World Trade Center
One of the main symbols of Bahrain is its famous World Trade Center. This unique skyscraper has a height of 240 meters and consists of two towers that are akin to ship sails.
In addition to its stunning architecture and design, the towers are a great example of the juxtaposition between sustainability and construction. The uniqueness of the towers is that it was the first skyscraper in the world to use wind energy to generate electricity for the buildings. The Bahrain World Trade Center was so impressive that it received two prestigious architecture awards: the 2006 LEAF Award and an award for Sustainable Design by the Arab Construction World!
Inside the tower are various name-brand boutiques from around the world, delicious gourmet restaurants, and offices of local companies.
The Tree of Life
Nestled in the heart of Bahrain’s desert, some 40 kilometers from the capital, is one of the most popular natural attractions in the country: the Tree of Life.
While at first it might look like any ordinary tree, the Tree of Life is famous because it grows in the middle of the desert without any food sources — and is the only major tree in the area to do so! About 65,000 visitors come to see the tree every year and try to figure out its secrets.
Likewise, scientists have also tried to study the tree and find an explanation for its 400-year survival. Some theories state that its roots are 50 meters deep and drink the water found underground, while others believe that the tree can extract liquid from the sand.
Since there is still no plausible explanation, the locals began to make up legends that the tree was a remnant from the Garden of Eden.
Beit Al Quran (House of the Qur’an)
One of the most visited museums in Bahrain is none other than the Beit Al Quran, which is dedicated exclusively to the art and history of the Qur’an.
This museum consists of a collection of handwritten texts from different parts of the world, as well as different eras. In fact, the oldest manuscript dates all the way back to 700 AD!
The building has 10 halls with exhibits from different parts of the world, such as the African continent, plus China, Iran, Switzerland, and India, among others.
For example, make sure you see the unique 14th-century exhibits from Pakistan, which are texts from the Qur’an engraved on peas and rice — and in order to read the text, visitors need to look under a magnifying glass!
While the museum is especially popular with visitors from neighboring countries and those on religious pilgrimages, it is open to everyone, especially those who are keen on seeing beautiful calligraphy, text design, and other historical artifacts.
Al-Areen Wildlife Park
This small reserve is a beautiful green oasis in the middle of the desert where visitors can get acquainted with exotic flora and fauna. The park is home to more than 45 species of animals, birds, and reptiles — many of which are endangered or near extinction.
Some of the most interesting animals at the Al-Areen Wildlife Park include wild camels, desert porcupines, and the Persian gazelle.
Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix
Bahrain is an incredibly popular destination for Formula 1 enthusiasts due to the country’s history of Grand Prix events and circuits. The first Grand Prix was held in 2004, which was also the first Formula One event to be held in the Middle East!
Formula One competitions are frequently held here, which attracts spectators from all over the world. Between competitions, the track is open for everyone to visit, as well as rent cars and drive them along the actual racetrack.
The Qal’at al-Bahrain is a grandiose ancient fort that has lived through dozens of civilizations, including the Kassites, Portuguese, Greeks, and Persians. The fortress is so important that it was even inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005!
Nowadays, the Qal’at al-Bahrain is constantly being studied and excavated by archaeologists, and it is also open to the public. This attraction is very popular among tourists, as it is where visitors can feel the Middle Eastern atmosphere and get to know the local history better.