Once Upon a Time… Arad Fort

Arad Fort hosted Red Bull King of The Rock Bahrain Final back in 2013
Arad Fort hosted Red Bull King of Rock in 2013 © Mansour Chebli/Red Bull Content Pool
By Noor Nooruddin - Bahrain

With Red Bull Winning 5 final taking place in the Arad Fort on Saturday, it brings up the question of the historical landmark’s mystique; what’s the story behind Arad Fort?

Upon some little digging and a great talk with a man who works at the fort, I got you the cliff notes!

Five hundred years ago, there were only three continents in the world, and the Arab world was basically just a bridge from Europe to Asia. Since Bahrain is perfectly placed in the middle of it all, whoever had claim over us and the Gulf coast got some massive strategic advantage, and bragging rights! It was the Age of Discovery, when Europe engaged in global exploration and the establishment of empires, that the Portuguese took over our islands and built the fort, between the 15th and 16th century. The fort’s site basically dubbed it “The strategic location within the strategic location”, marking a key viewpoint of civilian land and the sea.

A little over 200 years ago, the Omanis reclaimed our island and rebuilt the fort on top of the remnants of the Portuguese port. The Sultan of Oman established the fort as his headquarters for military and civilian rule, and he’d taken over the entire Muharraq island.

As for the fort’s structure, it’s basically divided into four towers; two facing the ocean to control ships and the marine, and two back towers to watch over the civilian area for any domestic resistance. Between the towers and within the walls, they created tiny openings that resemble the human nose for stealthy observations, and to pour hot water or pomegranate molasses to make the floors sticky in case of an intrusion. After getting past the main entrance and the officers’ main room, you’d find three staircases, and under each staircase, there’s a prison. In the southeastern corner from the inside of the fort, there’s an execution chamber. Dark, no? I like it. But there hasn’t been any blood spilled in the fort since it was renovated in 1984 as a tourist site. Now, the fort boasts a continuous influx of visitors throughout the week from Muharraq and Manama, the two most populated islands in Bahrain, and several celebrations, including the Spring Culture festival, the first Arab cinema festival, and fireworks for national day.

Red Bull Winning 5 Bahrain is about to make its mark in this historical zone on Saturday, October 31st, 2015 at 7:00 pm. See you there for the action!

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