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Tourism passport puts Bahrain on the map

This autumn, visitors and Bahrainis alike enjoyed the clearest possible guide to Bahrain’s rich arts, culture, history and archaeology with the help of a handy ‘Cultural Tourism Passport’.
 
Better still, the Passport, brainchild of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA), gave people the chance to win one of 21 trips to a key Arab and international destination. All they had to do was visit all 21 of the sites highlighted in the Passport – see the map and list below – and receive a Dilmun seal stamp at each, before handing in the completed document to the Bahrain National Museum by 30 November.
 
In honour of Word Tourism Day
 
BACA launched the Passport on 29 September to celebrate the United Nations World Tourism Day, which took place two days before. It will announce the competition winners on 16 December, Bahrain’s National Day. This public holiday kicks off colourful month-long festivities throughout the Kingdom.
 
Cementing Bahrain’s position in tourism
 
Bahrain competes strongly in tourism across the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and the Middle East. In acknowledgement of this, the Kingdom is home to the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (ARC-WH), which cooperated closely with BACA on developing the Cultural Tourism Passport. A UNESCO centre, ARC-WH is responsible for implementing the aims of the 1972 World Heritage Convention in the Arab region.
 
Following its recognition as 2012 Cultural Capital of the Arab World and 2013 Tourism Capital of the Arab World, Bahrain has recently been voted 2016 Capital of Gulf Tourism. During next year, the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) plans to support key events such as the 2016 Arab Travel Market, which will be centred around the Gulf Air Bahrain Formula 1TM Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit.
 
Last words on the Cultural Tourism Passport
 
Speaking at the launch of the passport, BACA president, H.E. Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, said: “This initiative aims to promote Bahrain’s heritage and civilisation among citizens, foreigners and tourists,” adding that, “it is bringing into the spotlight Bahrain’s identity and our emphasis on cultural tourism.”
 
Visit and win: Bahrain’s key tourist landmarks
 
Some of the 21 sites included in the Passport are:

The Tree of Life & Visitors’ Centre: The Tree of Life (Shajarat-al-Hayat) in Bahrain is an approximately 400 year-old, 9.75 m (32 ft) high Prosopis cineraria tree that. The tree is a local tourist attraction, visited by approximately 50,000 tourists every year.
 
Shaikh Salman bin Ahmed Al Fateh Fort: known as Riffa Fort due to its location in Riffa,known as Riffa Fort due to its location in Riffa, it is a historic landmark that stands witness to one of the most important junctures in Bahrain’s history. Within its beautiful architecture lives the memory of the ruling family of Bahrain, the Al Khalifas.
 
Al Khamis Mosque: Built around 692 AD, Al Khamis Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in the Arab world. The identical twin minarets on this ancient Islamic monument make it easily recognizable.
 
Barbar Temple: The Barbar complex consists of three successive temples built over 5 stages and dating back to the 2nd and 3rd millennium BC. A sunken chamber enclosing a fresh water spring constitutes the focus of a cult believed to be associated with the Mesopotamia God of wisdom and sweet water Enki.
 
Qal’at Al Bahrain (Bahrain Fort): A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Qal'at Al Bahrain site is among the most exciting of Bahrain's archeological digs.
 
Ibrahim Al Arrayed House of Poetry: The Ibrahim Al Arrayed House of Poetry was built in the mid-20th century in the Bahraini colonial style. The Ibrahim Al Arrayed House is dedicated to the art of poetry, which plays a central cultural role in this region. It is named after the famous Bahraini poet Ibrahim Al Arrayed.
 
Bahrain National Museum: Innaugrated in 1988 and containing over 4,000 years worth of history, the Bahrain National Museum is the crowning achievement of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s ongoing efforts to preserve the nation’s heritage and history.
 
Bahrain National Theatre: Built on an area of about 12,000m2 overlooking the sea, the 1,001-seat theatre is located next to the Bahrain National Museum. Its unique architectural design and wood-covered interior walls draw inspiration from the tales of 1,001 Arabian Nights. The Bahrain National Theatre is one of the largest theatres in the Arab world, and is the third largest opera house in the Arab world.
 
Bin Matar House: The Bin Matar House was built on reclaimed land in 1905 and at the time was surrounded by the sea on three sides, and is now one of the main stops in Bahrain's UNESCO Pearl Route. Supervised by the Bahraini master builder Mussa bin Hamad, the building was constructed in a traditionally Bahraini manner, using palm tree trunks, sea-stone and gypsum.
 
 
To find out more about Bahrain’s cultural landmarks, click here.