Sheik Isa's House
Al Muharraq Travel Blog› entry 9 of 11 › view all entries
Today, we went to Sheik Isaâ€™s House. Not the house of the current sheik you understand; the Palace of the current Kingâ€™s grandfather, in Muharak.
The palace is very beautiful. It is built around a series of courtyards, which ehen it was in use allowed the family, servants and guests to have their own spaces. The palace is full of beautifully carved archways and doors, space and light. The woodwork is teak, which survives the salty air well, and Ahmed told us how they would have been carved with a special nail like tool rather than a chisel, to get the decoration right. The windows were mostly carved gypsum screens, and the roofs were made of date palms and reeds.
The house was wonderfully cool.
We climbed up to the roof on the only staircase that was broken, resulting in a bit of a scuffed elbow for me, and as we got to the top the call to prayer began. There are several mosques surrounding the palace, and as they all started the call one at a time, it was incredibly atmospheric.
After that we went for a walk in the town, around the alley ways. There are beautiful blossom trees near the palace, and another very, very old house that you can normally look around but it was closed. We ended up in a small cultural centre and childrenâ€™s library, both of which were beautiful too.
After that, we went to the souk and Ahmed got us some Halwa, the local sweet. Itâ€™s slightly like jelly sweets, and slightly like Turkish delight, and tastes of herbs, in a good way. There were also little sweet samosa like things and a coffee that was green instead of brown and tasted of cardamom.
That evening, lorna, Lucy, Richard and I went to Bab al Bahrain, the big souk in Manamah. It is an amazing place, full of as many little shops selling sari silk, fabric, handicrafts, and jewellery as you can imagine. There are also lots of counterfeit bags and designer watches, so if someone sells you a prada bag for the equivalent of ÂŁ20, then you know what the score is! Mind you, you should know that anyway, right? And some of the bags are very nice indeed.
The gold, on the other hand, is real, and the prices are adjusted based on the price of gold on the international markets. It is also 22k, as opposed to the 9k youâ€™d buy in the
Later, we went to Fiddlerâ€™s Green at the Diplomat on Manamah, an Irish Bar. Fiddlerâ€™s Green was a legend about heaven that sailors used to believe in, so it is appropriate that when we were there, we were joined by two members of the US Navy, desperate for a chat. The band on that evening were from