October 29, 2011

0023 BAHRAIN - The Arad Fort

The archipelago of 33 islands that are called by several centuries Bahrain (the Two Seas) has always a particular significance in the Persian Gulf, mainly due to the strategic position (not coincidentally hosts now the Fifth Fleet of the United States) but also for the resources (copper in ancient times, pearls later, and now oil). As a result the islands were permanently disputed by the locked Persian Gulf states, to which was added the Portuguese (XVI century) and English (from the XIX century).

Probable the permanent pressure but also ethnic and religious mix made the inhabitants of Bahrain to always come out. Two examples in this regard are sufficient.

In 899, the Qarmatians, a sect seized Bahrain, seeking to create a society based on reason and redistribution of property, and even had the nerve to demand tribute from the caliph in Baghdad, and in 930 bring the sacred Black Stone from Mecca back to their base in Ahsa, in medieval Bahrain, but had to return it 22 years later.

On September 10, 1939 the Sheikh of Bahrain declared war on Germany and even actively participated in campaign of North Africa. Only the Sultan of Oman did the same thing, while Saudi Arabia remained neutral, and Iran and Iraq fought a strong pro-German policy.

The Arad Fort (Qal'at 'Arad), build in the style of Islamic forts at the end of the 15th and early 16th centuries and overlooking various sea passages of Muharraq Island, is one of Bahrain's most important fortified castles. At 1980's restoration exclusively traditional materials were used, such as coral stone, lime and tree trunks, without cement or other modern materials. Little is known of the fort's history but recent excavations may provide some help in this regard.

About the stamps

The first stamp on the left, depicting the King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, is part of a definitive series, issued on July 15, 2002, by the Postal Directorate of State of Bahrain Ministry of Transportation and containing 16 stamps.

• 50 BHD - it's on this postcard
• 100 BHD - it's on other postcard
• 150 BHD - it's on other postcard

Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom on February 14, 2002. With studies conducted in Britain and the United States, both civil and military, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa became emir in 1999 and instituted elections for parliament, gave women the right to vote, and released all political prisoners. However he was not spared by the wave of riots that swept the Arab world in the first half of 2011, which he survived it, but only with military intervention.

The second stamp is part of the Arab Summit Conference 2003 set, issued on March 1, 2003 and containing 22 stamps, one for each participating country:
• Sudan (100 BHD) - it's on other postcard
• Saudi Arabia (100 BHD)
• Djibouti (100 BHD)
• Algeria (100 BHD)
• Tunisia (100 BHD) - it's on other postcard
• United Arab Emirates  (100 BHD)
• Jordan (100 BHD) - it's on the postcard
• Bahrain (100 BHD)
• Comoros  (200 BHD)
• Qatar (200 BHD)
• Palestine (200 BHD)
• Oman (200 BHD)
• Iraq (200 BHD)
• Somalia (200 BHD)
• Syria (200 BHD)
• Yemen (250 BHD)
• Mauritania (250 BHD)
• Morocco (250 BHD)
• Egypt (250 BHD)
• Libya (250 BHD)
• Lebanon (250 BHD)
• Kuwait (250 BHD)

sender: Saleh Tarish (direct swap)
sent from Bahrain, on 22.10.2011

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