It is a thorny and trying time in Bahrain at the moment, especially with the one year anniversary of the February 14 uprising approaching. The conflict is at a stalemate and both sides, especially the ruling family, are not budging as there is far too much at stake for them to budge. Meanwhile Bahrain's people have nothing to lose as far as they are concerned.

My travel in Bahrain was far too brief, but an afternoon traipsing around Muharraq Island offered hints at a time when Bahrain's people relatively thrived before the discovery of oil in the Middle East. A couple hours here almost causes you to forget about the demonstrations occurring throughout the country.

Traditional Arabian architecture still reigns, from the stoic and practical wind towers to the intricately carved doors. The alleys lean closely towards each other, allowing you to stretch your arms out and touch both sides; the close proximity of houses allow them to shade each other.

(Explore Doha’s famous souq!)

Many houses are undergoing renovation, and lately there has been more awareness about the historical significance and charm that are abundant in Muharraq. The larger homes are well worth exploring, if they happen to be open. The colorful facade of Beit Sayadi and the two-century-old Beit Sheikh Isa Bin Ali are among the highlights. Never mind that Bahrain's international airport is plunked in the middle of the island; a wander around Muharraq is a refreshing break from Manama's massive malls and skyscrapers. And the best part of Muharraq? The smiles and waves darted your way while you explore, get lost, and explore some more.

(Read my parting thoughts on Doha.)

Shadows in an alley in Muharraq Island

Shadows in an alley in Muharraq Island

Typical wrought iron door, Muharraq Island

Typical wrought iron door, Muharraq Island

Typical aniconic pattern found at Beit Sheikh Isa Bin Ali

Typical aniconic pattern found at Beit Sheikh Isa Bin Ali

Facade, Beit Sayadi

Facade, Beit Sayadi

Courtyard, Beit Sheikh Isa Bin Ali

Courtyard, Beit Sheikh Isa Bin Ali

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.