Muharraq, the former capital of Bahrain, is known for its cultural splendor and traditional Bahraini houses litter the town’s narrow lanes. The Shaikh Isa bin Ali house is Bahrain’s most impressive example of Gulf Islamic architecture featuring four courtyards and beautiful carved wooden doors and perforated gypsum panels. The beautifully restored houses that make up the Shaikh Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research provide an important insight into aspects of Bahrain’s heritage. From embroidery at Kurar House to pearling history at the Bin Matar House, the former home of a renowned pearl merchant, the houses reflect the Centre’s commitment to the preservation of both traditional architecture and history.
The Shaikh Ebrahim lecture hall, Iqra Children’s Library, Heraf al Diyar, Nukhida House (the first house to be restored along the pearling trail), Kurar House, Abdullah al Zayed House, House of Coffee, Bin Matar House, Bu Zaboon House and Mohammed Bin Faris House all showcase different aspects of Bahrain’s rich heritage.
Hosting regular art exhibitions and film screenings in the old city is Maison Jamsheer, another example of the traditional courtyard houses and which is situated a stone’s throw away from the Shaikh Ebrahim Centre.
The Qal'at al-Bahrain (Arabic: قلعة البحرين; Portuguese: Forte de Barém), also known as the Bahrain Fort or Portuguese Fort, is an archaeological site located in Bahrain. Archaeological excavations carried out since 1954 have unearthed antiquities from an artificial mound of 12 m (39 ft) height containing seven stratified layers, created by various occupants from 2300 BC up to the 18th century, including Kassites, Greeks, Portuguese and Persians. It was once the capital of the Dilmun civilization and was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. The fort and the tell Qal'at al-Bahrain is built on, are located on the Bahrain island, on the northern seashore. On a clear day it is also seen from Saar. It stands like a "sentinel" near Manama, the capital of Bahrain; it is 6 km (4 mi) away from Manama on the fertile north coast. The tell is the largest in the Persian Gulf region and was built close to the port and by reclamation of seashore land. The archaeological findings, which are unearthed in the fort,reveal much about the history of the country. The area is thought to have been occupied for about 5000 years and contains a valuable insight into the Copper and Bronze Ages of Bahrain.