erxplore Manama, Bahrain

Explore Manama, Bahrain

Explore Manama the capital and largest city of Bahrain with an approximate population of 155,000 people, roughly a quarter of the country’s population. Manama has a tropical desert climate, varying from dry winter nights of 55F to humid summer days of 100F.

Manama has emerged as the capital of independent Bahrain after periods of domination by Portugal and Persians earlier in its history. Today, it is a modern capital with an economy based around the sales promotion industry as crude oil takes a less pronounced role in the economy.

What to see. Best top attractions in Manama Bahrain

  • Al-Fateh Mosque. One of the largest mosques in the world, capable of accommodating over 7,000 worshippers at a time and is the largest place of worship in Bahrain. It is also one of the top tourist attractions in Bahrain. The dome is currently the world’s largest fiberglass dome and is over 60,000 kg in weight. Al-Fateh includes the new National Library.
  • Corniche al-Fateh. On the east coast of the city, this pleasant seaside promenade offers good views of the skyscrapers to the south and planes taking off from the airport nearby. Plenty of fun fair rides for the kids and shisha bars for the older set.
  • Museum of Pearl Diving. Is considered as the most important historic buildings in Bahrain. It derives importance as being the first official center for Bahrain Courts. The building was inaugurated by Late H.H. Sh. Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, the past Governor of Bahrain, during Calendar year 18th October, 1937. At that time the building comprised of four Supreme Courts, apart from three Directorates. Later on, during 1984 the building was transformed into a Traditional Heritage Center. Currently, the Museum of Pearl Diving is under the control of Directorate of Archaeology and Heritage, one of the major Directorates of Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Information.
  • Bahrain National Museum, Al Fateh Highway. Natural and Cultural history of Bahrain 
  • Tree of Life, 30 km south of Manama. Famous lonesome tree in the middle of a dry desert. Scientists haven’t figured out how it survives, since no underground aquifer or spring exists under that area. In fact, all underground water sources around the tree are contaminated with salt, suggesting the tree may in fact possess a mutation rendering it salt-tolerant.
  • Bahrain Fort. Bahrain Fort, on the island’s North coast, was built in the 14th century but excavations have revealed it was built on the site of Dilmun settlements, dating back to 3,000 BC. Recently renovated, and with new lighting at night, the Fort is an outstanding example of Bahrain’s varied and ancient history. Bahrain Fort, known in Arabic as Qalat Al Bahrain, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005.  
  • Bahrain Fort Museum – opened in February 2008. The first building comprises an exhibition hall and a child learning and training room whereas the second is made up of a conference hall, a cafe overlooking the sea, offices, a technicians suite and a dormitory for archeologists. Admission fee is two Dinar. Do not expect they have a lot of change, better bring two one Dinar bills with you. As often in Bahrain, you can pay in Saudi Rials as well.  
  • Bin Matar House: Place of Memory. The Bin Matar House is the latest in a series of projects by the Shaikh Ebrahim Center focusing on the restoration of traditional Bahraini houses associated with historic Bahraini families and leading cultural personalities. The house was designed by the well-known Bahraini architect Mussa Bin Hamad and built in 1905. It was used by Salman bin Hussein Matar as the venue for his permanent “majlis” (a room similar to a salon, used to entertain family and guests). By the 1940s, it was used a clinic by the famous physician Dr. Bandar Kab, and from the 50s to the 80s was used as the centre for the Eslah Club.
    Until recently, the building lay empty and in uninhibited, ready to be demolished to make way for a new construction. Today, the ceilings of the house are made of a combination of palm leaf and wood beam and the walls and floors have been authentically retouched.  
  • Barbar Temple. This is an archaeological site located in the village of Barbar. Three temples have been discovered there, the oldest dating back to 3000BC. The temples were thought to have been constructed to worship gods, as it contains two altars and a natural water spring. During its excavation tools, weapons, pottery, and many small pieces of gold were discovered. 

Manama is a getaway for Arabs and expats residing in the ‘alcohol banned’ Arab countries. Tourists, particularly Saudis and residents of Saudi Arabia, come to Bahrain mainly for the nightlife. Another place they visit for a modern lifestyle is Dubai.

  • Boat Hire,. Take a boat trip to see local fisherman head out in traditional wooden dhows to catch the prized local hammour – a type of grouper.
  • Scuba Diving, Bahrain Yacht Club & Al Bandar resort.
  • Horse riding, Saar. For anyone wanting riding lessons or an occasional hack, the Twin Palms Riding School and the Dilmun Club are good places to start.
  • Horse racing. Arabia is of course famous for its horses. The national racecourse at Al Sakhir hosts races every Friday from October to March. The grandstand holds up to 3,000 spectators and entry is free, although visitors should be reminded that betting is prohibited.
  • Pearl Diving. Bahrain is also famous for its pearls. Try your hand at pearl diving and maybe take home one of these natural gems of the sea. 

Manama Souq, should not be missed by any visitor

Shopping Malls in Bahrain

  • Al A’Ali Mall
  • Bahrain City Centre
  • The Bahrain Mall
  • Dana Mall
  • Marina Mall
  • Moda Mall
  • Riffa Mall.
  • Seef Mall
  • Sitra Mall
  • Yateem Centre

Restaurants in Manama run the gamut from cheap shawarma joints to 5 star restaurants.

Manama has a busy nightlife by Gulf standards. The main districts are Adliya, Hoora, Juffair and Business District.

Other destinations are

  • Saudi Arabia is just across the King Fahd Causeway — if you have the visa, of course.
  • Hawar Islands Are a group of islands situated off the west coast of Qatar in the Gulf of Bahrain of the Persian Gulf. In 2002, Bahrain applied to have the Hawar islands recognized as a World Heritage Site, due to its unique environment and habitat for endangered species. This site is home to many wildlife species and a very interesting place for birdwatchers and divers. Hawar Islands used to be one of the settlements of the Bahraini branch of the Dawasir who settled there in the early 1800s and on the main island of Bahrain in 1845 in the areas of Zallaq and Budaiya.

Bahrain and Manama are generally very safe. This doesn’t mean petty crime is non-existent. Just make sure that you don’t drink and drive, as it’s a serious felony in Bahrain.

Official tourism websites of Manama

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