The history of Bahrain dates back to ancient history: Bahrain was the central location of the ancient Dilmun civilization. Bahrain’s strategic location in the Arabian Gulf has brought rule and influence there from mostly the Persians, Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Portuguese, the Arabs, and the British. Whilst the country had closest economic relations with Indians or South Asians for the longest time. Bahrain is an island country in the Arabian Gulf. A chronology of key events: Bahrain converted to Islam in 629 the seventh year of hijra: The Prophet Mohammed ruled Bahrain through one of his representatives, Al-Ala’a Al-Hadhrami. From the time when Islam emerged in the 7th century until the early 16th century, the name Bahrain referred to the wider historical region of Bahrain goes from Basrah to Hormuz. The Province of Bahrain and the Arab inhabitants of the province were descendants of the Arab tribe Bani Abd al-Qais. 1783 – Rule by sheikhs of the Khalifah family. 1861 – Britain assumes responsibility for Bahrain’s defence and foreign relations. 1931 – Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco), a subsidiary of the Standard Oil Company of California (Socal), discovers oil at Jabal al-Dukhan and the production began in the following year. 1939 – Britain decides that the Hawar Islands which lie in the Gulf of Bahrain between Bahrain and Qatar belong to Bahrain not Qatar. 1961 – Sheikh Isa Bin-Salman Al Khalifah became the ruler of Bahrain. 1971 – Bahrain gained formal independence from Britain. 1971 – Bahrain and the US signed an agreement which permits the US to rent naval and military facilities. 1986 – Building of the King Fahd causeway which links Bahrain to the mainland of Saudi Arabia. 1997 – Bahrain acquires sole ownership of Bapco. 2002 – Bahrain changed from country to kingdom. 2002 – Bahrain turned itself into a constitutional monarchy and allowed women to claim jobs in the reforms. 2004 – Bahrain and US signed free trade pact; Saudi Arabia condemned the move, and stated it hinders regional economic integration. 5 The impact of oil exploration in Bahrain: ? The impact of oil on diving craft to extract pearls. The inhabitants of the Arabian Gulf have been practicing Pearl diving craft for the past few years until the middle of the twentieth century. This was one of the major economic activities of the people of the Arabian Gulf. The discovery of oil was as a serious blow to the era of diving in search of pearls. There have been huge jobs with steady and increasing wages and comfortable working conditions. ? The impact of oil on traditional crafts and local industries. Domestic industries have deteriorated markedly as a result of the migration of most of Craftsmen to the other jobs. ? The impact of oil on agriculture in Bahrain. ? Changing traditional relationships between human resources and economic resources in society and the emergence of job opportunities that did not exist. The changes that took place in Bahrain after the construction of the King Fahd Causeway: The King Fahd Causeway linking the two brotherly countries (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kingdom of Bahrain) is the largest urban achievement in the region, a new link and a modern means of transportation, and communication between the GCC countries. ? Helped to strengthen personal relations among the people of the region ? Promote joint ventures in several areas. ? Increase the movement of people between the two countries as well as the land transport between Bahrain and other neighboring countries. ? Bahrain is the most diversified among GCC economies. 6 ? The contribution of the bridge in finding new outlets for Bahraini exports increases the rate of growth of the Bahraini industrial sector (Non-petroleum), which ranks first among the GCC countries. ? The King Fahd Causeway has effectively contributed to the economic development of the Kingdom of Bahrain, further diversifying its economic structure and strengthening its economic ties with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC countries. 7 Characters of old Bahrain houses (Architecture and interior) In my thesis I am going to explore the architecture in Bahrain, especially the architecture of dwellings and houses in that area. I believe that the architecture in Bahrain is restricted between tradition and modernity. The drastic political and economical changes that occurred over the past thirty four years had a major hand in influencing the changes that went through the architecture in Bahrain. Oil was discovered in Bahrain. In the year 1932. The oil boom that followed in the seventies and eighties played a big role in the drastic changes to the architecture in Bahrain, caused an overflow of money in Bahrain that was never experienced in its history before. Modern industries moved to the Island, and people started to hire modern architects to build their houses. Since native people were not educated enough to design and build in their new modern lifestyle, they had to hire foreigners who were more qualified. Modern architects from the Western world got hired to design and build in Bahrain. The result was building modern European buildings on a Middle Eastern land. After that, students traveled to the West to learn about modern architecture and then went back to their land to apply what they had learned. The students wanted to incorporate their own tradition in their designs, so they designed modern European buildings with traditional Middle Eastern looks. I believe that another factor for not finding a solid fundamental foundation for theory in Bahraini architecture today is the conflict in the culture that the people are living in. People are living under contradicting values of their political system, their economical system, and their religious beliefs. These three conflicting factors created contradictions in the culture which consequently affected the architecture. Traditional Bahraini architecture is similar to that of its neighbors. The domestic architecture in the country is unique in the region The wind tower, which generates natural ventilation in a house, is a common site on old buildings, particularly in the old districts of Manama and Muharraq. A traditional Bahraini house made up of a series of pavilions around a courtyard. Traditionally, houses had two courtyards (though 8 sometimes only one) one would host the reception of men and the other would be for private living use. The house’s rooms were organized in terms of seasonal migration, with the important pavilions for living and hosting receptions. The lower rooms of the house would have thick walls, allowing them to be utilized during the cool winter months. The light-weight and porous coral is lined with a coat of lime and gypsum, and this causes warm air to be trapped in the spaces during the day. Hundreds of buildings with this feature were built in Bahrain but virtually none currently function, with most not being repaired or serviced in several decades. A disadvantage of the coral used is that its core is made from clay, as a mortar, and dissolves easily thus causing cracks. 9 Relation of Bahraini Culture and reflection on house design: The most impact on Bahrain is the Islamic culture. In this article I will explain most important Bahraini culture and Islamic one especially that reflected on the house design. The Islamic religion asks for the women to cover up from strange men. This fact by itself had a large influence on the design of houses in Muslim countries. The privacy factor had a large influence on the design of houses, and one of the parts that were influenced is the plan. The plan of the houses was designed in Bahrain such that there is a courtyard at the center of the house. Having the courtyard at the center of the house makes it protected having all the rooms around it, while still being open to the sky. The courtyard is usually an outside world for the women. It is where the women can work and sit down without necessarily covering up. In traditional houses windows were designed different than today. Windows were designed mainly for light, air flow, and for the view. To allow the sun light in the rooms, the windows used to have transparent glass or stained glass on top of the opening of the window. That part of the window is never covered because it is so high in the room, therefore no one can look inside. The lower part with the large opening is for air flow and for the view. It has shutters with grooves in them to allow the flow of air inside the room without opening the shutters. If someone wants to look outside he can then open the shutters. Today windows are designed differently. You will often find houses with large glass windows. The sun in Bahrain is very bright and hot, and the large windows do not help with preventing heat from entering the rooms. Therefore, people have to cover the windows with large curtains from the inside, and since the women still have to cover up from strange men, the curtains will always be closed to prevent the view inside the room. This makes the whole idea of having the large glass windows very useless. The new window is also not designed for air to flow in the room without letting light and heat in like the old traditional windows. 10 Courtyard in Islamic architecture. Most traditional mosques have a large central courtyard, which is surrounded by a riwaq or arcade on all sides. In traditional Islamic design, residences and neighborhoods can have private sahn. In Islamic and Arab architecture, the courtyard is a common element in religious buildings and residences throughout the Arab world and beyond, used in urban and rural settings.