The Royal Palace
One of the prime examples of traditional Islamic architecture is the Palace of Sheik Isa Bin Ali al-Khalifa, the King of Bahrain for 6 decades from 1869. While most houses are quite small and built closely together, the Palace comprises an entire block. It has 4 courtyards – one for the King, one for his wives, one for his servants and one for guests – surrounded by fabulously carved wooden doors. The geometric figures in the windows let in a dazzling but filtered light.
The candy shop of Hussain Moh’d Showaiter
Antique sweet shop
In and around the souk are countless shops that trade in halwa, traditional Bahrain sweets made with nuts, corn flour, and saffron or cardamom. The shop of Hussain Moh'd Showaiter is a century-and-a-half old, and serves as a living museum with a mahogany counter, display cases, a sky-blue ceiling and elegant Art Deco lamps. The halwa, a cross between Turkish baklava and a syrupy jam, is scooped from a large, simmering pot, ready to be enjoyed with a cup of delicious coffee.
Dhows in the fishing harbour
Against the background of the glistening twin towers of the World Trade Centre, rows of dhows are ready to set sail. These traditional Arab trading vessels with their curved hull, huge sails and long bowsprit are still being built at the shipyard in the fishing port of Muharraq. They are rarely used for pearl diving or fishing anymore though; instead they are used for transportation. The crafts are handed down from father to son and require no construction drawings to build.