Book Research: Ain Adhari

Okay, this is actually a bit of reminiscing for me. Ain Adhari or Adhari Spring or Adhari Park (as it is now called) was a freshwater spring in the Zinj area of Bahrain. I was thinking about it in reference to how communities congregate around water, particularly in desert regions.

Ain Adhari, was a natural spring that seemed to be the center of a community many years ago. It was fresh water bubbling up from below ground to a large natural pool. There were birds and frogs and all around there grew huge palm trees offering shade for visitors. My father talked about swimming in Adhari pool and there being fish that lived in there as well. Women would come from all over the island with bundles of clothes and do their washing using the natural channels of the spring. Families would have picnics on the grass and swim in the blue waters. All around it was farmland and date plantations, the water would flow through from the sweet water springs through irrigation ditches to supply expansive orchards and fertile gardens. There’s an old story that the waters of Adhari came into being when a virgin dug in the ground in search of water. After she dug but a little ways, the water bubbled up into her hands, fresh and cool and sweet.

When I was a child, the spring was already dying. There were no longer any fish, and the water had turned brackish with moss and algae. There was trash all around and the water no longer fed the channels around it, leaving little but a few palms desperately holding on and some scraggly brush. A few years after that, the waters dried up and it was abandoned completely.

In 2002, the government began to recognize the loss of Adhari park and decided to try and revive the spring and build a park for the community. It was remodeled again in 2006 and further improvements made. The “pool” is now 500 square meters…a pool-pool not a natural spring pool. And there are outdoor and indoor rides for people of all ages, a Family Entertainment Center, 10 food outlets at the Food Court, you get the idea. It is an amusement park.

In some ways, I guess it is great that they found a way to preserve some of what was Adhari Park and another part of me that laments what was lost, and what, in many ways, I never got to see – Ain Adhari as a fulcrum of a desert community. 🙂 Or maybe I’m just romanticizing.

As they say, pictures are worth 1000 words. I put these in what looks like chronological order.

These last three are from almost the same angle but probably cover about 20-25 years between each photo. 70s, 90s, and early 2000s.


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