Isa ibn Ali Al Khalifa house
Isa ibn Ali Al Khalifa the former Emir, this is his house which has been restored and maintained - The large tower is a Wind Tower which works on the Venturi effect ie when air (in this case) is funnelled through a wide aperture to a smaller aperture wind speed increases. The tower has four internal diagonal walls so that whichever way the wind blows the leeward side draws air up from the room below giving the benefit for the occupant the sensation of cooler air. At night when it is cooler hot air within the house rises creating a stack effect within the tower again cooling the occupants on the ground floor. There are shutters at the ground floor ceiling level which can be closed should it feel to cold say during winter when it drops to 15 to 20 C (a balmy summers day in Scotland!)
The house was originally built about 1840 by Hasan bin Abdulllah, grandson of Ahmed al Faith, and then occupied by Isa around 1869 after which more work was carried out.
This picture was taken in the Women's Court looking towards the Wind Tower which has a stair leading up to the Family Room on the First Floor built by Sheikha Aisha. From an old photo that I have in a book about the house it would appear there used to be merlons running along the parapets of the Tower but these seem to have been lost or removed during restoration and only the corner Merlons remain.
The other elements that have been removed from the house during restoration are the privies and kitchen which is a shame as it would help when walking around the house to visualise how the house was used.
(according to Flickr's stats this is my most viewed photo