Qal’at al-Bahrain Archaeological
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Qal'at al–Bahrain is a typical tell – an artificial mound created by many successive layers of human occupation. The strata of the 300x600-metre tell testify to continuous human presence from about 2300 B.C. to the 16th century A.D. About 25% of the site have been excavated revealing structures of different types: residential, public, commercial, religious and military. They testify to the importance of the site, a trading port, over the centuries. On the top of the 12m high mound there is the impressive Portuguese fort, which gave the whole site its name, qal'a, meaning fort. The site was the capital of the Dilmun, one of most important ancient civilizations of the region. It contains the richest remains inventoried of this civilization, which was hitherto only known from written Sumerian references.
Kingdom of Bahrain 2005. Souvenir sheet. 50th Anniversary for the Discovery Dilmon Civilization. Scan by courtesy of Mr. Peter Smeets (Belgium). Note that there are three single stamps in the set too, but I do not have them.
In its justification for inscription the UNESCO states that being an important port city, where people and traditions from different parts of the then known world met, lived and practiced their commercial activities, makes the place a real meeting point of cultures – all reflected in its architecture and development. Being in addition, invaded and occupied for long periods, by most of the great powers and empires, leaved their cultural traces in different strata of the tell.
The site was the capital of one of the most important ancient civilizations of the region – the Dilmun civilization. As such this site is the best representative of this culture.
The palaces of Dilmun are unique examples of public architecture of this culture, which had an impact on architecture in general in the region. The different fortifications are the best examples of defence works from the 3rd century B.C to the 16th century AD, all on one site. The protected palm groves surrounding the site are an illustration of the typical landscape and agriculture of the region, since the 3rd century BC.
There are no other World Heritage Sites in Bahrain. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Bahrain-Section, for further information about the property.
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Revised 21 jul 2006