After the end of the CELTA course and an intense four-weeks we decided to spend the weekend visiting places we had not yet been in The Kingdom. Having become used to some disappointing days out in both Borneo and Bahrain expectations were not high for our latest plan, Saar Archaeological Site and burial mounds.
Despite the burial mounds not being open to visitors, although there are many other such examples on the island which are, we carried on to Saar Archaeological site or as Eddie Izzard would call it: ‘a series of small walls.’ However, these small walls are the remains of one of the oldest trading civilisations in the world – the Dilmun civilisation. It is one part of many such associations in Bahrain with the early traders travelling between Mesopotamia (the world’s oldest civilisation) and south east Asia to sell their goods and leaving many signs of their presence on this former trading hub.
The development is divided into two distinct parts: the residential district and then, a short distance away, a cemetery. Totally unprotected and, bizarrely, guarded by a security fellow who makes you write your comments on the site in the visitor book as you enter rather than as you leave, it would be a very difficult place to visit in the summer but in mid-winter temperatures it was nice to have a walk and be outside.
We then, perhaps giddy because of all the fresh air and excitement, decided to head to Riffa town to visit the castle. Riffa is infamous amongst the Shia’a Bahraini majority for being the home of the country’s controversial ruler and therefore housing a majority Sunni population. However, politics outside, the castle is a pleasant enough experience in the afternoon sunshine. A stroll around the keep and battlements doesn’t take too long but you get some nice views and there is a good restaurant on site where you can sit outside and look out over the town and surrounding desert.