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Riffa Fort

Riffa Fort is a large fortress in the city of Riffa in Bahrain. It was built during the reign of Sheikh Salman bin Ahmed Al-Fateh Al Khalifa in 1812.

The Riffa fort is located near the Hunanaiya valley, 20 km from Manama. Entrance to the fort is free.

History of Riffa Fort

Shaikh Salman bin Ahmed Al Fateh Fort, also known as Riffa Fort or Qal’at ar-Riffa, lies in the eastern part of the city of Riffa in Bahrain.

The fort is situated on a cliff overlooking the low desert valley between the old town of East Riffa and the new town of West Riffa.

The first fortification on this site was probably built during the 17th century. A British commander visited the fort. In his journal, he wrote that he entered it through a tunnel and signed a treaty with the local ruler in an underground chamber. The tunnel nor this chamber has been located.

In the early 18th century a fort was built here by Fareer bin Rahhal. With the decline of Shaikh al Jabri’s rule and the passing of years, this fort fell into ruin, leaving only its foundations. When the Utub settled in Bahrain, Shaikh Salman bin Ahmed Al Fateh of the Al Khalifa family chose Riffa as his place of residence and, using the old foundations, built a new fort in 1812.

Shaikh Salman bin Ahmed Al Fateh Fort is different from the other forts in Bahrain in that it was not only used for defense but also as the residence of the ruling Al Khalifa family. In 1848, Shaikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa, the Bahraini ruler, was born in a room in the northeastern tower. During his residence in the fort in the early 20th century, Shaikh Humood bin Subah Al Khalifa rebuilt parts of the fort. At the end of the 20th century however the fort had fallen to ruin. It was then completely restored and opened for visitors.

The fort has a square ground plan with 2 circular and 2 rectangular towers at its corners, with the northeastern tower serving as a gate tower. Inside there are 3 courtyards.

At present Shaikh Salman bin Ahmed Al Fateh Fort is a tourist attraction. The fort itself can freely be visited during daytime. The museum inside the fort will need a ticket for a fee but is also worth a visit. This is a very nice fort with several rooms with nice architectural details made out of gypsum.

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