A 10-minute drive west of Manama, on an ancient tell (mound created by centuries of urban rebuilding), the majestic Bahrain Fort stares out across the Gulf. Built by the Portuguese in the 16th century, it is part of the Unesco World Heritage site believed to have been the capital of the ancient Dilmun Empire. As you wander the atmospheric excavations of residential, commercial, public, military and religious buildings, contemplate this: humans have continuously inhabited this site since 2300 BC. This is where the most important Dilmun finds have been made in Bahrain, and it provides an outstanding example not only of the might of Dilmun, but also its successors during the Tylos and Islamic periods. The fort is supported by a stylish, modern visitor centre and an excellent museum, where you can pick up a free audioguide. When you're done wandering the ruins, be sure to enjoy the glorious sea views with a drink at the Museum Café.
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