In Muharraq, we also stopped to see and photograph Arad Fort, another fort with interesting walls and turrets. This is another fort that is well illuminated at night, so it’s worth seeing then if you don’t have time during the day. In fact, grand Mosque is just across the bay and can be seen from the Fort.
There are not enough resources available on the history of Arad Fort in Bahrain. So the precise time of its construction is not well supported by facts. Recent excavations carried out in the locality may offer some help in this regard. Many believe that during the 1800, Arad Fort was used by the Omanis during their brief stint in Bahrain. In the recent past, Arad Fort of Bahrain has gone through some renovation work. At night, the illuminated site of Arad Fort in Bahrain is a treat to the eyes of the onlookers. Arad Fort in Bahrain is one of the major Bahrain Tourist Attractions and an indispensable part of Sightseeing in Bahrain.
Built from traditional building materials in areas such as marine stones, lime and sand, the fort is a large square, 50 meters on a side. It is surrounded by a small trench which was once filled with water from wells that were drilled especially for their purpose. On every corner there is a cylindrical tower. The parrot beaks were used to give cover for defending marksmen who would drop missiles and other items, including boiling water and oil, on the raiders below.
Two “chimneys” inside the inner gate were used to hang palm trunks that could be lowered, during times of emergency, into the floor sockets to strengthen the door locks.
The completely restored interior wall, 30 meters on a side, has four bastions at each corner. The southern one was enlarged sometime after the fort’s construction.
The Arad Fort (Qal’at ‘Arad) stands on Muharraq Island in Arad village, near where the old capital of Bahrain was located, and can easily be seen by travelers en route to the Bahrain International Airport. This small, unpretentious structure with its array of parrot beaks (small nose shaped openings) protruding from the curtain wall is one of Bahrain’s best known landmarks.
Built sometime during the 15th century, the fort is one of Bahrain’s small mysteries. Little is known of its history and there is no firm evidence of the precise date of construction.
What is known is that it was built in the style of Islamic forts before the Portuguese invasion of Bahrain in 1622 CE. The first known illustration of the fort, now in the Bibiotheque Nationale de Paris, shows the fort under siege by the Portuguese.
The fort’s location was chosen to control the former shipping route to the anchorage of Dawat Al-Muahrraq in the center of the bay. A cannon discovered on top of the south tower points directly to the entrance of the only navigable channel passing through the coral reefs to the safe anchorage of Muharraq Bay. Arad Fort, set well away from the deep sea channel separating Muharraq Island from the mainland, was given the responsibility of controlling entry to the anchorage next to Muharraq. The deep sea channel was controlled by another fort, Abu Mahir, now on the ground of the nearby Coast Guard station.