Manama – Giving a glimpse of what Bahrain holds for travellers
Tucked away in the north-eastern corner of Bahrain, Manama is not only the capital but also the largest city of Bahrain. It may not be the most polished and commercialized capital out there unlike other swanky Gulf capitals, but Manama has gotten its charm for sure. Expansive air-conditioned shopping centres and boldly designed lofty skyscrapers of Manama speak volumes about its Arab prosperity. Having said that, the delightful remainders and relics of Manama nestled behind the glamour and glass proudly remind tourists and locals alike of the rich heritage of this busy port town as well. There’s an amalgamation of historic sites and modern buildings in Manama. And, Manama’s Souq is the epitome of the same. Its hustle and bustle bring to mind an ancient marketplace while the diverse range of global cuisines is steadily making Manama a favourite destination for foodies.
The Bahrain capital has more to it than what meets the eye. It makes an ideal holiday destination for everyone who’s fond of art, culture, history, and modernization. Besides boasting oil reserves galore, the city is home to plush hotels, vast shopping malls, and happening nightlife scenes. Globetrotters from around the world catch a flight to Manama to explore its many souks, art and craft markets, and tourist honeypots. What catches the attention of a majority of travellers is the simplicity and candour of the Bahraini people.
Why people must visit Manama?
As it is the largest city in Bahrain, Manama serves as the cultural, commercial, and financial centre of the country, thus promising a wide array of experiences to travellers. Not for nothing is Manama deemed the city of contrasts; where cloud-kissing skyscrapers loom above traditional Arabian infrastructure and ancient souks are accompanied by sumptuous shopping malls. The city deserves to be explored at least once because of its stunning skyline, which is adorned with iconic structures and sleek high-rises like Bahrain Financial Harbour and Bahrain World Trade Centre.
Those who are a sucker for history must make their way to Manama’s centuries-old mosques, forts and traditional marketplaces narrating the intriguing tales of the city’s past. Also, make your way to the Bahrain National Museum to peek into the archaeological discoveries and rich heritage of Bahrain. They provide an interesting glimpse of Bahrain’s cultural traditions and ancient civilizations.
Manama certainly knows how to keep tourists and natives alike entertained. And its thriving nightlife is something to look forward to. Whether you choose to groove the night away in a funky club or indulge in live music performances at a restaurant with laid-back vibes; Manama offers so many options to get your jollies from that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Its culinary domain is equally captivating, if not more. You can treat your taste buds with an eclectic range of international cuisines or lip-smacking local specialities, such as fish dishes and spiced rice (machbous).
Transcending the city limits, the Bahrain capital also serves as a perfect gateway to several attractions of the country. From the gorgeous coastline to immaculate beaches and serene desert landscapes to iconic Dilmun Burial Mounds, myriads of adventures are waiting to be explored.
Best places to visit in Manama
Al Fatih Grand Mosque
Built in honour of Sheikh Ahmed Bin Muhammad Bin Khalifa, the founder of modern Bahrain, who was also revered as Al Fatih (the conqueror), Al Fatih Grand Mosque is the most lavish mosque in the entire Bahrain. The mosque is indubitably a sight to behold, owing to marble from Italy adorning the floor, glass from Austria used as the window panes, and teak from India to make colossal doors. With a capacity of up to 7,000 worshippers, the mosque does full justice to its name. Feel free to take a free guided tour of the mosque.
Bahrain National Museum
Bahrain National museum deserves to be one of the topmost attractions of not only Manama but Bahrain. Enclosed in a postmodern building, the museum is situated on the waterfront and its lower floor exhibits the archaeological discoveries of ancient Dilmun, Bahrain’s rich traditions and culture, and the Hall of Graves. On the upper floor, it houses the exhibits on Islamic and Tylos periods, ancient manuscripts, and delightful copies of paintings of its traditional souqs.
Beit Al Quran
Beit Al Quran is a remarkable tribute to the holiest book of Islam. It features the finest collection of Qurans belonging to every century since the beginning of Islam in 610. The monument is the epitome of the modern architecture of Bahrain and has its outer walls carved with Kufic script. Beit Al Quran is also home to the earliest translations of the Quran into European languages, woodcarvings, manuscripts and samples of Islamic calligraphy. You should call ahead to take the guided tour of the place.
Manama’s Leading International Airports
Bahrain International Airport is the leading airport that serves Manama. Situated on Muharraq Island, the airport is adjacent to the city and serves as a hub for the flag carrier of Bahrain, namely Gulf Air.