Eternal Springs

Eternal Springs

Bahrain’s abundance of water (terrestrial and submarine springs) attracted people since antiquity and gave the country its Arabic name “the two seas’. According to Mesopotamian mythology, at the beginning of the world, gods lived in Dilmun and blessed it with sweet water, lush vegetation, and eternal youth. The submarine springs in Bahrain, where sweet water rises up from depth to meet the salt water, had a paramount religious significance. It was believed that the sacred sweet-sea-beneath-theworld “absu” broke through the surface in Bahrain forming its bountiful sweet water springs.

These submarine fresh water springs had supported the pearling industry in Bahrain and defined the location of main urban centres. Water springs were important supplies for fishermen and provided water to villages via water pipes. Sadly, the rapid urbanisation of Bahrain has seriously affected the once plentiful reserves of groundwater.


Ain Abu Zaydan

The Abu Zaydan spring was one of the main springs in the area of Bilad Al-Qadim during the early and middle Islamic period. The spring was of continued importance and its name was given to the Al-Khamis Mosque by 19th century travelers to Bahrain. Although the archaeological work in the spring area and within its pool provided no pre-Islamic evidence, it is suggested that Ain Aby Zaydan might have had its origin in the Dilmun period.


Ain Umm Al-Sujur

Once one of the richest artesian springs in Bahrain, Umm Al-Sujur’s origin dates back to the Dilmun period. Literally meaning “Mother of the spring of overflowing waters”, Umm Al-Sujur was associated with a temple during the 3rd and 2nd millennia BC. Today, the site consists of two wells, several rooms and ovens, a channel and drainage. One of the wells is referred to as the holy well, or water temple.


Barbar sacred well

The Dilmun period temple at Barbar was centred on a main water feature and was devoted to the worship of the Mesopotamian god of sweet water Enki. In addition to the main well, a sunken pool chamber enclosing a freshwater spring was recovered on site. This water pool is believed to be the temple-absu or the entry to the subterranean freshwater ocean that was the home of the god Enki.