The Kingdom’s Defence force has played an integral role in the island and the Military Museum aptly displays the great power of Bahrain Military over the centuries. Located near the historic Riffa Fort, Bahrain Military Museum details the events that constituted the Arabian Peninsula.
The two-storey building flaunts an Arabic architecture that houses various paintings, documents, and weapons used by military units since the inception of Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) 45 years ago. It was inaugurated on February 5th, 2013 – the 45th Anniversary of BDF’s establishment.
The army vehicles were parked at both sides of the entrance and on display as I visited the Museum. They would be covered during the windy days to avoid corrosion. The cool and wide reception hall was arrayed with large paintings depicting the scenes of Bahrain battles over the centuries. The centre attraction was the Land Rover used by late HRH Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa for military parades.
Different halls are exclusively dedicated for diverse aspects of the history in Bahrain.
The first hall that I entered was the Hall of Rulers with the portraits of all rulers in Bahrain from late Hakim Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn Khalifa until His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa.
The Hall of Documents highlights the original legal documents that decided the destiny of the island. It lead to the Hall of Horses which features information on different breeds that were celebrated over centuries by the Arab warriors. It was interesting to note that the background music of each hall changes to fit each theme.
The Hall of Weaponries featured rifles used before 15th century; Muqammahs used during the battles from 1820s to 1870s; and German rifles used afterwards.
The Hall of Forts, and the Hall of Costumes lead to the stairways of the first floor. As I passed by each one of them, I wondered whether the weapons and costumes were part of the everyday lives of the beholders or whether they were just castaways and detested by their owners.
The first floor featured various battle scenes with life size mannequins in the army, naval and air force halls. Rifles, machine guns and armouries used over the centuries were displayed in the Hall of Army.
The first thing that held me to the spot in the Hall of Naval Force was the diffused water mine hanging at the centre of the Hall. I took some time to look around the models of ships displayed in the room as this unique piece was beyond any imagination. I must say that movies and history texts failed to create an accurate image of a water mine until I saw the real one.
The Hall of Air Force had models of airplanes used during World War II and from the Royal Air Force. Sitting at the corner of the Hall is a gigantic piece of Scud missile that landed in Bahrain during the war of Kuwait in 1991.
A hall dedicated to the revolution in 2011 detailed its origin, course of action and the final victory over the rebels. The uniforms used by the various forces over the years; the ammunitions such as torpedoes, bombs, missiles, and explosives of all kinds; and the medals awarded to the brave warriors over the years were also on display.
Needless to say, all the halls display progression of Bahrain’s military throughout the Kingdom’s history. An ideal place to visit during the summer, you will come out at awe learning the great power of the little island.
Dhanyasree M is a writer-slash-travel enthusiast. In her #BlueBahrain series, she writes about her memories and musings of Bahrain.
Sunday to Thursday: 8am-1pm
Saturday: 9am-12pm, 2pm-5pm
Contact Details: +973 1749 5511
Location: Sh Hamood Bin Avenue | Near Sheikh
Salman Bin Ahmed Al Fateh Fort in East Riffa
Entrance Fee: Free entrance. Make sure that you carry your ID card with you.