A brief tour through the history and contents of Arad Fort in Bahrain
Over its history that spans many centuries, the Kingdom of Bahrain has been a witness and a living proof of the rise and fall of different ancient empires that include the Dilmun civilization, the Portuguese empire, and the Islamic empire.
Because of that, and in spite of being the nation with the smallest area in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, the Kingdom of Bahrain has been a home to some of the ancient monuments and sites that still pass to us the tales of these fallen empires, and Arad Fort comes as one of the most outstanding ancient sites of Bahrain.
The structure of Arad Fort:
With a design similar to that of the old Islamic forts, the fortress is a square-shaped complex. The entire wall of the castle was surrounded by a trench filled with water and had a wooden bridge arching over it and leading to its main gate, with a cylindrical tower occupying each of its corners. Each of the towers had a pocket made for archers to defend the attacks on the fort, with the southwestern tower being their largest.
Arad Fort has two gates and a crypt leading to its internal courtyard which has holes in its roof where wooden props would be dropped and leaned over the castle’s gate to make invading it more difficult and fend off any incoming attacks.
The historical role of Arad Fort:
Arad Fort’s initial purpose was to help protect its eponymous town which has been once a separate island from the mainland of Bahrain; this has been long before Arad island was joined to Muharraq’s governorate through land reclamation works.
The fortress was built near the end of the 15th century when the lands of the Kingdom of Bahrain was under the Arabian rule before the Portuguese invasion. Back then, Arad Fort was one of the most vital strategic castles of the Kingdom of Bahrain due to the fact that it looked over multiple sea passages of Muharraq Island.
Because of this, the place was used as a defensive fortress for a long time from the Portuguese invasion in the 16th century till the reign of Shaikh Salman bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, the son of Ahmed Al Fateh (Arabic for Ahmed the Conquerer), the founder and the first ruler of the Kingdom of Bahrain as we know it nowadays.
Arad Fort in the present time:
In the 1980s, and over the course of three years from 1984 till 1987, Arad Fort has been the subject of large scale extensive restoration program that helped turning it into one of the most renowned ancient historical sites in Muharraq and Bahrain. All the materials used in the restoration programs were chosen so that they would be in harmony with the original design and structure of the fortress like coral stone and tree trunk to maintain the authentic image of the place.
If you are planning for a vacation or a short trip to Bahrain and you have a keen interest in exploring its history, make sure to evacuate a spot in your schedule for a visit to this amazing historical place.