Museums and Theaters
Bahrain National Theater
Since it opened in 2012, Bahrain National Theater has hosted global performances from some of the world’s foremost artists such as the Orchestra of the 21st Century of Russia, legendary composer Yanni, Spanish opera superstar Placido Domingo, the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Ballets from Russia, and Il Divo. In addition, the museum has hosted cultural activities, including the 39th Annual Bahrain Fine Arts Festival and Korean traditional costume fashion show and awards ceremonies. Its unique architectural design and wood-covered interior walls draw inspiration from the tales of 1,001 Arabian Nights. It is the third largest opera house in the Arab world after the Cairo Opera House in Egypt and the Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman. For information about events at the theater, visit: Bahrain National Theater – Festivals and Activities
Bahrain National Museum
A rich collection of Bahrain’s ancient archaeological artifacts is on display at the Bahrain National Museum. The museum covers 6,000 years of Bahrain’s history. The complex includes four halls: one devoted to archaeology and the ancient civilization of Dilmun, two halls depict the culture and lifestyle of Bahrain’s recent pre-industrial past, and the fourth is devoted to natural history, focusing on the natural environment of Bahrain featuring specimens of Bahrain’s flora and fauna. For more information, visit: Bahrain’s Top 10 Must-do’s – Bahrain National Museum
Oil Museum and the First Oil Well
As the name suggests, this is the first oil production well in the Arabian Gulf and it is in Bahrain. The museum showcases the history of the oil industry in Bahrain for over a century. The Oil Museum houses some fascinating exhibits, including drilling equipment, documents, old photographs, and a working model of an oil rig. For more information, visit: Trip Planner – Oil Museum and the First Oil Well
Museum of Pearl Diving
The Museum of Pearl Diving’s building is regarded as one of the most important and historic buildings in Bahrain. Its importance derives from being the first official location of the Bahrain Courts prior to becoming a museum. For more information, visit: MyCity.com Attractions – Museum of Pearl Diving
Bait Al Qur’an
This landmark building, which means House of the Qur’an, was built to accommodate a comprehensive and valuable collection of the Holy Qur’an and related manuscripts. All visitors are welcome, and the complex comprises a mosque, library, auditorium, and a school/museum that has five exhibition halls. For more information, visit: Lonely Planet – Bait Al Qur’an
The museum displays a comprehensive collection of the currency used in Bahrain from the beginning of Islam until modern times. The collection is priceless and includes some very rare coins. The museum is located on the Bahrain Central Bank premises. For more information, visit: Bahrain Central Bank – Currency Museum
The Post Museum
A remarkable collection of all the stamps issued and used in Bahrain are on display. The museum is in the Ministry of Transportation building. For more information, visit: Ministry of Transportation – The Post Museum
Rashid Al Oraifi Museum
Adaptive re-use of the Oraifi family’s private residence into a museum, where artwork by Rashid Al Oraifi, inspired by Dilmun culture and history, is on display. For more information, visit: Lonely Planet Bahrain – Attractions – Rashid Al Oraifi Museum
Bahrain Military Museum
Comparatively small to other military museums around the world, but well curated and displayed, the Bahrain Military Museum showcases the military history of the Bahrain Defense Force. The museum is divided into five different sections: The Hall of Rulers, Forts Hall, Documents Hall, Horses Hall, and Old Weapons Hall. For more information, visit: Watch “BAHRAIN, EXPLORING the wonderful MILITARY MUSEUM in RIFA”
Since Islam is the state religion in Bahrain and around 90% of the population are Muslim, most of their festivals and holidays follow Muslim tradition. The country observes the Muslim feasts of Eid al-Adha, Eid al-Fitr, the Islamic Prophet Muhammad’s birthday (Mawlid), and the Islamic New Year as national holidays.
The biggest events go by the name Eid which means ‘celebration’ in Arabic. These celebrations tend to mark the end of the most solemn religious periods of the year. Celebrations often involve family gatherings in homes and residential areas.
Ramadan is a Muslim period of charity and reflection and is the holiday that affects Americans living in Bahrain the most. The dates change slightly each year as it is observed on the ninth month of the Islamic year. While not required to fast during Ramadan, in Bahrain, Americans can be fined or detained by local authorities for eating, drinking, or smoking in public when off-base during daylight hours. Navy officials require U.S. personnel to dress more conservatively off-base during Ramadan. Although not a requirement by Bahraini authorities, the Navy demands that men wear long-sleeved shirts and women wear sleeved blouses that cover their elbows. Also, men must wear long trousers and women should wear pants or skirts that cover the knees. The culmination of Ramadan is known as Eid Al Fitr, a three-day celebration of feasts and good deeds.
For more information, visit: Stars and Stripes – US Personnel in Bahrain prepare for Ramadan
Muharram – Islamic New Year
Celebrated during the month of January, this is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year and during it, a ban on alcohol is strictly enforced as a measure to promote purity.
Not a festival, but rather a period of mourning and grief commemorating the martyrdom of Hussain ibn Ali. This holiday is observed on the 10th day of Muharram on the Islamic calendar by Bahrain’s Shi’a Muslim majority. It is often marked with assembling for processions and local traditions.
Milad Al Nabi
The most widely-celebrated festival in Bahrain, Milad Al Nabi honors the birth of the Prophet Mohammed. Uniting the Sunnis and the Shi’ites, the two predominant Islamic factions on the island both celebrate the memory of this important Muslim figure, but observe the occasion on different days. Milad Al Nabi takes place each year in April with processions, feasting, and storytelling.
Marking the day in June of 1971 when Bahrain regained in independence from Britain. Celebrated by all the citizens of Bahrain no matter their religion or place in society, the holiday is marked with fireworks, opera, and festivals that go on during both day and night.
For more information, visit: iExplore – Bahrain Holidays and Festivals
Bahrain has its own top-tier domestic professional football league, the Bahraini Premier League, run by the Bahrain Football Association. It features ten football clubs and the winners of the domestic championship qualify for the AFC Cup. Bahrain National Stadium holds an impressive 30,000 seats. For more information, visit: Bahrain Football Association
The Bahrain Premier League is a franchise based T20 Cricket Tournament held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Their purpose is to advance the sport of Cricket in Bahrain by hosting an exciting league with the best of Bahrain’s players. KHK Sports & Exelon organize the event which provides an exciting platform for Bahrain’s cricket and strives to expand the cricketing footprint across the Gulf. The league is comprised of six teams of thirteen resident cricketers competing in the T20 format of cricket. For more information, visit: The Bahrain Premier League T20 Cricket Tournament
Formula One and Motor Sports
Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) is an ultramodern motorsport facility located in the heart of the Sakhir desert. Designed by the renowned German engineer Hermann Tilke, the circuit incorporates many features of local culture. Costing approximately $150 million, the entire facility took less than 18 months to build — quite a feat considering the massive undertaking that was needed to develop the land.
BIC features five FIA certified track layouts, more than anywhere else in the world. This allows the circuit to host a range of motor racing events. The 5.412-kilometre Grand Prix Track regularly hosts international races, including the Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, the FIA World Endurance Championship Six Hours of Bahrain, races in the GP2 Series, and the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup. More information can be found by clicking the link provided here. Tickets are also sold through MWR.
Equestrianism and Show Jumping
Show Jumping spans history, speaks all languages, and transcends age and gender with a contagious spirit. It is family oriented and instills dedication, courage, confidence, and commitment. There is no sport equal to this unity between horse and rider. This remarkable sport has gathered rapid momentum over the past decade and has become an immensely popular and highly visible spectator sport. More information is available through the link provided here, as well as through MWR Bahrain.
Living on an island nation, you are surrounded by water and there are many ways to enjoy this natural resource. You might choose to kayak or canoe, take a boat tour or a sailing lesson, join a dive club, or rent jet skis for the day. While some say the sea is difficult to access, if you know where to go and how to do it, there can be a lot of fun on the water ahead for you. For more information, visit: Time Out Bahrain – Best Watersports in Bahrain