Bahrain, a nation comprising more than 30 islands in the Arabian Gulf, has been at the center of major trade routes since antiquity. In its modern capital, Manama, the acclaimed Bahrain National Museum showcases artifacts from the ancient Dilmun civilization that flourished in the region for millennia.
Shaikh Isa House
This breathtaking building was once the seat of power for the ruling Sheikh, and it is one of the finest and best-preserved traditional Gulf buildings found anywhere. A marvel of architecture, the rooms are kept quite cool in the summer heat through an inventive system of draft towers. Though unfurnished, the meticulous decoration in the different rooms deserves hours of examining.
Al Jasrah House and handicraft center
One of several historic homes around Bahrain that has been restored to its original condition, Al Jasra House was built in 1907 and is famous as the birthplace in 1933 of the former emir, Sheikh Isa bin Sulman Al Khalifa. It's constructed in the traditional way from coral stone, supported by palm-tree trunks. The gravel in the courtyard is made up of a ‘hundreds-and-thousands’ mixture of tiny mitre and auger shells.