LIFESTYLE An unexpected time in Bahrain

5 min

Welcome to the series that swerves your stopover into a whole new dimension.

Scratch the wallpaper. Peel back the uber modern exterior. Look beyond its surface and Bahrain will reveal a melting pot of cultural riches and a proud history. Unpretentious, vibrant and eclectic, Bahrain has a soul that’s easy to embrace. Yes we know, you’re probably familiar with its Formula 1 Grand Prix. But there’s a lot more to the ‘Kingdom of the Two Seas’. The world is your oyster, and Bahrain is one of its many pearls.

Windtower of Isa Bin Ali House, home of former ruler of Bahrain, in Muharraq, Bahrain. fuzzytnth3, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore a pearly past

In Bahrain, you don’t dive into the azure waters of the Gulf just to beat the island heat. You jump in searching for pearls. Bahrain has a rich history of pearling that drifts back to over 2,000 years. It’s a key part of the island’s cultural identity. In those early days, more than half of the male population worked in the pearling industry. Today, anyone can join a dedicated pearl-diving trip and explore the Bahrain Pearling Trail, part of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Who knows, if you’re lucky, you could leave Bahrain with a timeless souvenir.

Shop back in time

The Bab Al Bahrain is both a building and a time machine. You step into it and enter Manama Souq. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to wander through the bustling streets of an old-world market, Manama Souq is the place to be. It’s bathed in nostalgia and scents of cardamom, coffee and shisha. A cluster of slender streets, the souq is a treasure trove of spices, sweets, electronic goods and other oddities. So, shop responsibly before making that trip back to the future.

Art at its heart

The arts and culture scene here is bursting with life. There are the two more popular sites, the Bahrain National Museum and the Bahrain National Theater. They’re both stunning pieces of architecture, located on the waterfront. The museum showcases archaeological finds of ancient Dilmun and the Hall of Graves. Drop by the chic museum cafe and find a table on the terrace. Here, you can look across the bay to the Bahrain National Theater, which plays host to world-class performing arts and musical concerts. Fancy something more offbeat? There’s also the La Fontaine Center of Contemporary Art, a special haven for architectural connoisseurs. 

Bahrain National Museum.Anthony DeCosta, via Wikimedia Commons

And last but not least

Once you’ve roamed through the souq and had your fill of Bahrain’s art, history and culture, why not swing by the TAG Heuer boutique at the City Center Bahrain? 

  • TAG Heuer Boutique – City Center Bahrain, 1st Floor, Manama

TAG Heuer boutique in Bahrain