Bilad Al Qadeem
|Bilad Al Qadeem
Bilad al-Qadeem (Arabic: البلاد القديم, The old country) is a suburb of Manama in Bahrain. Bilad al-Qadeem used to be a separate town situated next to the village of Zinj until it was incorporated into Manama in the 20th century. The town was the historical and Islamic capital of Bahrain during much of the country's history.
The town is believed to have been one of the earliest settlements on the island of Bahrain. The area was a traditional area of rich agriculture and learning, with multiple date farms, orchards and gardens in the town's vicinity. In the 1600s, the visiting Portuguese explorer Pedro Teixeira noted that the town cultivated an extensive amount of wheat and barley.
Prior to the Portuguese invasion in 1519, Bilad al-Qadeem served as the provincial capital of Bahrain and did so again later when Safavid rule was restored in 1602. The town was traditionally a centre for Twelver Shi`ism, particularly in the Usuli theological thought, and was the seat of the chief mujtahid of the islands, who was the second most influential political figure after the Persian governor. The cleric, locally known as Shaikh al-Ra'is (Arabic: شيخ الرئيس), was carefully chosen from the Safavid capital, Isfahan.