Forts and Castles of Bahrain - Arad Fort

Bahrain’s restored floodlit walls of the Arad Fort can be seen by the visitor arriving at Bahrain International Airport. Arad Fort and its smaller sister, Abu Mahirr, were originally built by Bahrainis at the end of the 15th century and were captured by the Portuguese around 1559. Portuguese miniatures from the 15th century depict the scene, and three cannon balls found embedded in the walls of the Arad Fort attest to the battle. In 1602 the Omanis seized Arad Fort. They made extensive changes including covering firing positions and filling in the moat.

Meticulously restored in recent years, Arad Fort's outside walls stand about 30 meters high. The basic structure is of walls with four rounded comer towers. Originally, a larger square fort, with towers at the comers, surrounded the existing structure.

Although Bahrain's land reclamation has dramatically changed the shorelines, it can easily be seen how Arad Fort and Abu Mahir, each visible from the other's ramparts, were placed to support each other in protecting the seaward approaches from the south. The channel was so narrow as to force any encroaching vessel to come within 300m of the smaller fort - after which it would have to confront the guns of Arad as well.

Archaeologists have also found that the west tower was placed around the comer and out of the line of fire from the south tower. This allowed all four towers to bring their cannons to bear on targets to the north, the only possible route of attack by land.