Bahrain, the smallest Arab country, will surprise you with the richness of its ancient, its oriental prosperity and its secular spirituality. It's in Bahrain that the mythical Gilgamesh evokes heaven on Earth, and, in particular, Eden.
In this present-day garden of Eden, if you seek out the 300-year-old tree, poetically known as the tree of life, you'll experience an emotionally-charged and highly symbolic sight: gigantic, lost in the middle of nowhere, in an arid desert. This visit is essential if you are to truly discover Bahrain, and if you go at dusk, on the back of a camel, you'll remember it forever. Equally unmissable is the now visible mysterious civilization of Dilmun - and its treasures - that come from the depths of mankind's history, with monuments dating back to the 3rd millennium B.C. Buildings that amaze by their sheer age and their contrast with ultra-modern big cities like Manama and Sitra. And you won't forget the cemetery in the village of A'Aali with its 170,000 mound-shaped graves dating from 2800 B.C., or Dilmun Saar temple. But Bahrain is about much more than antediluvian remains and gigantic buildings. The island will delight visitors who come seeking an authentic oriental feel as they head off to the Manama Souq. This is a place full of character, with its maze of narrow streets that you must walk up and down in order to find that elegant oriental carpet, surrounded on your way by pyramids of Arab spices. And if the urban bustle makes you want to take a break, you absolutely must try the sublime combination of a strong Arabic coffee and a sweet helwa, an exquisite local pastry, perfumed with rose water.