WanderlustBahrain's most beautiful buildings

From the stunning Al-Fateh Mosque to the dizzying World Trade Centre, we examine Bahrain's most spectacular architecture

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Once the heart of the ancient Dilmun civilisation and later occupied by different nations, from the Persians to the Portuguese, Bahrain is a historic island nation now known for its innovation and flourishing economy. Every period of its rich history is reflected in its eclectic architecture, where ancient forts stand side-by-side with steel-framed skyscrapers. Discover some of the most impressive and beautiful buildings to visit during a Bahraini break.

 

Qal’at al-Bahrain

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005, this ancient series of tells (or mounds) is unique in the whole Eastern Arabian region: once the capital of the long-disappeared Dilmun Empire, this spot has been occupied by various nations since around 2300BC. At its heart are the well-preserved ruins of a 16th-century Portuguese fort, built on the largest tell. Today, a large portion of its impressive strongholds, walls, towers and even rooms remain and can be explored for an insight into the peoples that once lived here.

Bahrain fort

 

Bin Matar House

Erected in 1905 by Mussa bin Hamad, a renowned architect of the time, the Bin Matar House was originally surrounded by sea on three sides. Crafted from palm wood, gypsum and seastone in traditional Bahraini fashion, it features colonnaded balconies, high-ceilinged pavilions and arched doors and windows. The permanent majlis (or meeting-place) of a prominent pearling merchant until 2002, the building has since been restored and re-opened as a museum dedicated to the art of pearling, and remains a stalwart shrine to tradition today — despite the modern blocks which have sprung up around it.

 

Al-Fateh Mosque

Built in 1987 and named for modern Bahrain’s founder, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Khalifa, nicknamed ‘Al Fateh’ or ‘the conqueror’ for his liberation of Bahrain from Persian rule, this is Bahrain’s grandest mosque. Its towering minarets and majestic dome (the world’s largest in fibreglass) paint an imposing picture, even from afar. Inside, luxury abounds with Indian teak latticed doors, Italian marble floors, Austrian stained-glass windows and a monumental chandelier.

Al-Fateh mosque beautiful building Bahrain

 

Bahrain National Museum

Considered one of the region’s finest museums for the collections it houses, Bahrain National Museum is no less impressive from the outside. Designed in 1988 by Danish architects Krohn and Hartvig Rasmussen to sit on a purpose-built peninsula, this vast, angular building is constructed of white travertine stone, a stark contrast against Bahrain’s blue skies and sea. A manmade pool provides a striking reflection, whilst a minimalist courtyard is home to eclectic stone sculptures.

 

Bahrain World Trade Centre

Arguably Bahrain’s most iconic modern structure, the sail-shaped twin towers of the World Trade Centre dominate the city skyline. Built in 2008 by international firm Atkins, its 50 stories peak at an imposing 240m, making it Bahrain’s second-tallest building — yet that’s not all it’s known for. Within the bridges that link the towers are wind turbines, positioned to catch the streams from the Arabian Gulf, rendering it completely sustainable. Visit as night falls to see it illuminated in bright lights, reflected on the shimmering harbour.

Bahrain world trade centre

 

All these attractions and many more may be easily reached from Jumeirah Royal Saray, our palatial Manama resort. With its ornate arches, sparkling chandeliers and cool marble floors, this regal landmark offers an elegant, authentic ambience just steps from Bahrain’s best beaches.