Although the Tree of Life's age has now been established, the mystique and allure of this lone, green, desert dweller remains strong. Planted around 1583, the knotty mesquite tree gracefully spreads its ageing limbs over a patch of Bahrain's southern desert, attracting hundreds of visitors daily. They come to take pictures in its shade and enjoy the sunken walkway marked by 19 carved silhouettes of other famous trees around the globe that circumnavigates the Tree of Life, framing it from different perspectives.
It is still not clear what sustains the tree, though the underground water source it is tapped into is probably what once drew the inhabitants of the small village excavations have revealed to be buried close by. Once literally just a tree in the desert, today there is also an informative visitors shelter with toilets and a security guard around the clock.
On special occasions, like the Bahrain International Music Festival, the site's open-air platform hosts cultural events. The tree is best appreciated after dusk, when it is hauntingly lit up to accentuate the mystique that draws people to it. Be careful though, driving away in the dark is tricky in a location where there is no street lighting.
The tree is 40km south of Manama and signposted from the Musakar Hwy, becoming visible as soon as you go off-road. A 4WD is not required but take care not to drive into soft sand.