My driver, Abdulaziz, picked me up from the hotel and drove me to the “Bahrain Fort.”
"Enjoy," he said. "I will wait for you, no extra charge. Take your time. Then I will drop you at the Oasis Mall. You can walk back from there. Easy.”
An hour later, my understanding of Near East history had been transformed. The round trip and museum ticket only cost me 20 Bahraini dinars (about $50). I asked Abdulaziz to drop me at the Oasis Mall near the hotel, where got some thai basil shrimp and rice and a spanish latte to take away. I found a small table on a patio overlooking Bahrain's grand mosque, connected to wifi, and starting googling more of what I had just learned from this incredible place.
“Dilmun was not merely a mythological place. The existence of Dilmun can be found in Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform records etched into clay tablets.
The Sumerians described Dilmun as a paradise garden in the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Sumerian tale of the garden paradise of Dilmun may have been an inspiration for the biblical Garden of Eden story.
The Dilmun civilization of Bahrain dates back to the 3rd millennium bc, around 2250. Eight meters of dwelling layers spanning 7 periods of civilization occupy this artificial hillside, known as a tell, currently occupied by a 17th century Portuguese fort. The site includes Sumerian and Babylonian influences and occupation, snake cults, bronze age smelters, silversmithing, and just an incredibly well done museum. Oh, and Alexander the Great arrived here in 325 BC, building the City of Tylos, which lasted about 5 centuries.