Tree of Life Bahrain FI

THE TREE OF LIFE IN BAHRAIN

I love a big old tree, so the Tree of Life in Bahrain and the amazing story behind it, became a fascination to me during a fabulous ten-day visit to The Kingdom of Bahrain.

This old tree is also known as Shajarat-al-Hayat and is located in the very heart of the Arabian desert, around 40 kilometres outside of the capital city of Manama.

The Tree of Life is hailed as an iconic symbol of the country.

The Kingdom of Bahrain is a small island country in the Persian Gulf just off the coast of Saudi Arabia.

The backpacking husband and I were in Bahrain visiting some good friends who live there.

Find out more about our fabulous trip to Bahrain in my next post ‘Top 10 Exciting Things To Do In Bahrain‘!

Bahrain has a rich history dating back to ancient times.

It was once part of the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and Dilmun.

Local legend has it that Bahrain was actually the biblical location of the Garden of Eden.

And, it is said that the Tree of Life in Bahrain, is all that remains of the Garden of Eden today.

The gnarled old Mesquite – a type of tree not at all native to this part of the world and that would normally found in The Americas – is believed to have been planted here around 1583.

That makes the Tree of Life in Bahrain well over 400 years old.

Tree of Life photo by Janice Horton

The tree holds cultural and historical significance for the people of Bahrain, who regard it with reverence and awe.

It is a remarkable natural wonder as it stands alone on a sandy knoll amidst a dry and barren landscape, some two kilometres from Bahrain’s highest point (134 metres) at Jebel Dukhan Hill, (Arabic for ‘Mountain of Smoke’) in the desert heat.

We travelled on a straight narrow sand screed road through the desert in search of the tree, where for many miles the only thing to see was an endless shimmering visa of sand, and rows of the ‘nodding donkey’ type oil wells.

Eventually, in great anticipation, I saw the Tree of Life appear on the horizon.

The sight of this majestic tree standing proud and all alone in the desert took my breath away.

I see it’s not a particularly tall tree at almost ten meters high but it is wide and sprawling.

We parked up and walked across the hot arid landscape to get a closer look.

One one side, its twisted old branches are so heavy and low they’re touching dry sand.

On the other side, branches are being supported by wooden braces.

And, despite the age of centuries, the weight of its limbs, the scorching desert heat, the deathly dry air, the tree was alive.

It looked to be thriving with a full canopy of vibrantly green leaves!

How is this possible?

The Backpacking Housewife and Backpacking Husband at Tree of Life Bahrain

WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE TREE OF LIFE?

I can understand why people might think this tree has biblical associations because it really is an unexplained mystery how it manages to grow and to thrive in an environment where little else can survive.

Especially when there is no known freshwater source nearby.

Its resilience has not only puzzled locals for hundreds of years but, more recently, scientists too.

The Tree of Life in Bahrain has been carefully studied by scientists from the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.

There are various theories about how the tree sustains itself, with some speculating that its roots reach deep underground to tap into hidden water reserves perhaps many miles away.

While others believe it might draw moisture from the morning dew or absorb moisture from the sand or the air.

It has even been suggested that the tree finds its nutrients from oil!

Some hold the belief that the Sumerian God of Water, Enki, had blessed the tree.

A nodding donkey style oil well in the Bahrain desert oil field
The Backpacking Housewife in the Arabian desert Bahrain
The Tree of Life in Bahrain as seen on the desert horizon

Because of its mystery, the Tree of Life in Bahrain has become a popular tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world who come to marvel at its tenacity and beauty.

Over the years, the Tree of Life has become a symbol of endurance, strength, and the resilience of life in the face of adversity, making it a cherished part of Bahrain’s natural heritage.

It serves as a powerful reminder of the power of nature and the ability of life to adapt and thrive even in the most unforgiving environments.

Janice Horton The Tree of Life

THE TREE OF LIFE VISITOR CENTRE

There is a perimeter wall surrounding the area with plaques and a shaded information area.

Janice Horton at The Tree of Life Visitor Centre Bahrain
Janice Horton at the shaded information centre at Tree of Life in Bahrain

WHERE IS THE TREE OF LIFE LOCATED?

The Tree of Life in Bahrain is not very easy to find because it is located in swaths of desert and sand.

I’d recommend a 4×4 or similar type of vehicle to travel in the desert and to keep a vigilance for soft sand traps.

Janice Horton in front of the Tree of Life in the desert location Bahrain
The Tree of Life green branches in the desert landscape. Janice Horton

HOW TO FIND THE TREE OF LIFE

Directions to The Tree of Life in Bahrain: Head East on the Zallaq Highway which will become the Al-Muaskar Highway.

There is a Tree of Life sign indicating to take a right at the intersection.

Before the steep hill take a right turn.

There should then be more signs directing you to the Tree of Life.

You should soon be able to see the large and sprawling ancient tree in the distance.

Then take the dirt path at Well 371.

You can drive up to just outside of the tree but do keep your vehicle on the path to avoid getting stuck in soft sand.

GPS COORDINATES: 25°59’38.4″N 50°34’59.2″E

Do you like old trees?

Do you have a theory on how this tree in Bahrain gets its water?

Let me know in the comments!

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