The Bahrain Pavilion offered a refreshing and fruitful pause in the busy Expo… not least because it recreated ten different fruit orchards, each focused on one kind of fruit tree typical of the archipelago, such as banana, fig, jujube, olive, papaya, grape, lemon, prickly pear, date palm and pomegranate. Each of these would have blossomed at a different moment during the six months of Expo, thus becoming a symbol of nature’s seasonal progress.
The visitor progressed along paths lined by white panels, stopping at each orchard to find out more about the characteristics of the various kinds of fruit which are still important for Bahrain’s economy today, as they were during one of the oldest known civilizations, in the Dilmun (later called Tylos) epoch, as can be seen from the archaeological display in the Pavilion.
An ancient heritage used in modern industry
The remote origins and connections with Bahrain of some of these fruits are mentioned in the Bible or the Quran. Such as the fig, which in the Book of Deuteronomy is described as a species native to the Middle East and specifically to the land of Canaan. In Bahrain the leaves of the fig tree are used by children in a popular and ancient game where they are gathered and arranged by size, or used to create compositions.
The date palm – which in Bahrain occupies 85 percent of the land dedicated to fruit-growing – is cited in the Quran. It is said that its liquid – known as Ma’Liqah – has medicinal properties. Many of these fruit trees also have cosmetic uses, especially the jujube and the papaya, used especially in hair products.
Towards food safety
At the center of the Pavilion, titled Green Archaeology, a video offered visitors reflections on agriculture in Bahrain, ranging from ancient traditional practices to modern hydroponic techniques knowledge which Expo Milano 2015 contributed to enriching and spreading.
The Pavilion also offered a cafeteria stocked with typical local dishes using whichever fruits are in season.