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A History of Bahrain through the National Museum

Yesterday, I visited the Bahrain National Museum in Manama for the first time in a year and I can just tell you, it was brilliant. The museum had sections on Dilmun (Bahrain's earliest name, discussed in previous posts here and here),  Tylos (Bahrain's Greek name), Islamic-era Bahrain.The arts & crafts section details life in Bahrain in the pre-oil era prior to the 1930s. The ancient document & manuscripts section was my favourite, to be honest. From gold-covered Qur'ans to documents from the Bahrain Theatre's charity night and Bahrain's first newspaper, I was truly amazed. Perhaps the spookiest but most-visited section of the museum is the 'Hall of the dead', a room with reconstructed (and actually-moved) burial mounds.

I've taken loads of photos from my phone (and tweeted them), so mind you the quality isn't brilliant. Feel free to reuse the images, I'm releasing them into the public domain.

The earliest mentioning of Dilmun in a Mesopotamian tablet
Most of products in Dilmun were imported from Magan (Oman)
An artist's impression of Bahrain during the Stone Age
Dilmunites had style...
Date seeds (magnified) found in Dilmunite bodies
Distribution of early-Dilmun settlements.
Diraz temple
Distribution of burial mounds in Bahrain (Dilmun era)
5% of Bahrain's land consists of burial mounds
The Tylos era saw the "re-use" of burial chambers
Dismissing the "Dilmun was a necropolis" theory
Fluorosis was fairly common in Bahrain
A Qur'an, made in the 18th century
An 18th century Arabic romance poetry
Bahrain's first newspaper was plainly called "Bahrain". Photo dated 1939.
A map of the pearling sites in Bahrain, dated 1832.
The Private Education Law of 1961 (presumably legalizing private education)
A Manama municipality decree in 1938 about the measurements for selling milk
Pearl-diving license, dated 1924.
The Bahrain newspaper's article on the opening of the Manama-Muharraq bridge in the 1950s.
The first modern school opened in Bahrain
Bahraini driving license, with instructions! Dated 1932.
An invitation to a lecture by the Bahrain Literary Club. Dated 1926.
A document from the Bahrain Theatre, dedicating 2 nights earnings to the orphans of Bahrain
Ummayed Dirham coin, 81AH. Minted in Isfahan.

This is by-far, my favourite. The Khamis mosque and the (now-discontinued) Khamis souq
Mihrab stone of Al Khamis Mosque
Tombstone from the Tylos era.
A model of the Tylos fortress at Ras al Qal'ah, built by the Parthians in 100BC-200AD
Foundation of another mosque (unknown mosque)
The Qanats system, a system of underground water channels for irrigation.
Bahrain's second oldest mosque..
The baker (in the Arts and Craft section)
A traditional gathering.
If you ever get the chance to visit the museum, I strongly recommend that you do. The entry fee is a meager 500 fils (plus the ticket comes with a postcard!), there's also an art exhibition there so if you're one for the arts, you simply must go! I spent hours in the museum and to be quite honest, it was time well spent.


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