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30 April 2012 Tylos, The Journey Beyond Life Rituals and Funerary traditions in Bahrain (2nd century BC – 3rd century AD)

Opening on 1st of May 2012, the much anticipated 'Tylos, The Journey Beyond Life' exhibition will display around 400 artifacts associated with the numerous cemeteries of the Tylos period (2nd  century BC to 3rd century AD.) in an attempt to reconstruct the episodes of the journey in the afterlife.  The exhibition, planned in line with the events of the month of Museums during the Manama, Capital of Arab Culture programme will be displayed in Hall 8 in the National Museum for a period of one month, until 31st May. The exhibition will then travel to the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia at the end of June 2012 before it goes to Moscow.

Known for its extremely selective criteria and outstanding exhibitions, the Hermitage's interest in 'Tylos, The Journey Beyond Life' is in recognition of the importance of the findings and reconstructed narrative of the period and its understandings.

As the earlier civilization of Dilmun was viewed by the Sumerians as a sacred earthly paradise in which people enjoyed immortality (most likely due to its abundant fresh water and lush vegetation), it is not surprising that the impressive Tylos necropoli show a strong continuity of the prevalence of the notion of the afterlife.  It is believed that Tylos was an autonomous domain used as a port of call for the Greek military fleet in the Gulf.  It must have then played a significant role in the dissemination of Greek culture. Due to the scarcity of settlements from the Tylos period, our understanding of the prevailing socio-cultural setting relies almost exclusively on funerary material. As such, this exhibition of funerary material will provide viewers with an exclusive insight into this culture through the observation of burial customs and rituals from 2nd century BC to 3rd century AD.

Linking heritage with the wider community, the month of May reflects the Ministry of Culture's efforts to enhance the important social role of museums in the development of local communities. Guest speakers include the Director of the State Hermitage Museum, Prof Mikhail Piotrovsky and Dr. Hans Hinz, President of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) while the wide array of events will cater for all walks of life. Similarly, the Enkiru Bus Museum, a mobile exhibition based upon the Tylos exhibition, and designed for children aged between 7 and 11 years, will tour the island introducing the rich material culture of the past.

As part of its long term capacity building initiatives, in collaboration with ICOM-Arab, the Ministry of Culture has also organized a 12 day workshop for young museum professionals. Designed to address different aspects of museum operations and development, the workshop will review best practices in a range of activities from inventory and documentation to marketing and education methods.

Undertaken by the Arab League under the auspices of the UNESCO Cultural Capitals Programme, every year a different Arab capital is awarded the opportunity to engage in a cultural dialogue with local and regional audiences. Manama was elected as the Capital of Arab Culture in a meeting of Arab ministers of culture in 2004. The Bahrain Ministry of Culture has developed an innovative agenda for the year, which seeks to invite Arabs to discover the cultures, heritages and identities of different parts of the Arab world. The year-long programme for Manama, the Capital of Arab Culture 2012 is broken up into 12 different cultural themes according to the months of the year and is designed to foster an environment of multi-disciplinary learning with an appeal to all sectors of society.

Further information can be obtained at

Participation in the 43rd Fine Arts Exhibition Bahrain Map