Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
This weekend I travelled to Bahrain for a break from life in Saudi Arabia. I still dressed in trousers and long sleeved and loose tops out of respect for the culture but it was a relief to remove my abaya and hijab and enjoy freedom of movement.
After browsing for 1/2 an hour in the very nice museum attached to Bahrain Fort (Qal’at al-Bahrain) and admiring the cultural artifacts that I first saw here in 2012, I set off to explore the ancient capital city of the Dilmun civilisation.
Qal’at al-Bahrain site is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Qal’at al-Bahrain is a typical tell – an artificial mound created by many successive layers of human occupation. The strata of the tell testify to continuous human presence from about 2300 BC to the 16th century AD. About 25% of the site has been excavated, revealing structures of different types: residential, public, commercial, religious and military. They testify to the importance of the site, a trading port, over the centuries. On the top of the mound there is the impressive Portuguese fort. The site was the capital of the Dilmun, one of the most important ancient civilizations of the region. It contains the richest remains inventoried of this civilization, which was hitherto only known from written Sumerian references.
When I came to the fort last time I was with a driver who was happy to wander around with me but I was conscious that I was using his time. This time I was unhurried and spent over 1 hour wandering slowly around the fort, climbing the walls, descending into the basements and enjoying the art exhibits.
When I was last here, my driver, a man in his 50’s said that he misses living in houses like this. He said that the walls are made of palm tree fronds and allow the breeze to pass through the house, thus naturally cooling it, unlike the concrete box that he lives in now. He was a very sweet man and he invited into his home to dine with his wife and daughter. I realised when we were looking at the museum exhibits together that he was illiterate in both Arabic and English.
My other posts so far on this trip: