Manama is the capital and largest city of Bahrain. It is a major financial center, and home to a very diverse population. Although, Manama was earlier limited to the Manama Souq and Manama Fort (currently the Ministry of Interior), the city has now grown to include several new suburban developments and older neighboring villages, engulfed by the growth of the city.
Manama is positioned at the north-eastern tip of the Persian Gulf Island State. Manama has a strong colonial influence, due to Portuguese occupation in 1521, followed by Persian dominance in 1602. Manama serves as a great base to enjoy the stunning beaches, buildings and sites in the area.
Manama is a rather small city, but, walking for prolonged hours is not advisable, as the city is not very pedestrian-friendly. Walkers will have to keep away from rash drivers, and it is also easy to get dehydrated during the summer heat, especially when a dust storm arises.
Moving around in a car is a better option of transportation in Manama. Located along the north of Manama is the Bahrain International Airport, which also offers several rental companies to choose from. Taxicabs are also frequently used to move around in Manama.
Manama is open-minded and tolerant of other cultures, and often attracts huge numbers of foreign visitors every year. The visitors get to enjoy a range of attractions from shopping malls to souks, forts, pearl museums, and an active nightlife with several popular restaurants, clubs and bars to choose from, which makes Manama a popular tourist vacation destination.
Manama, just as in rest of Bahrain, is predominantly Muslim, with more than 80 percent of residents in the city practicing Islam. Manama has a large expatriate community, with more than one-third of city’s residents being non-natives. This gives a worldly, cosmopolitan touch to Manama.
Some of the major attractions in Manama for visitors are Al Dar Islands, Lost Paradise of Dilmun Water Park, Bahrain Fort, Bahrain City Centre, Al-Fatih Mosque, Bahrain National Museum, Wahoo Water Park, Bahrain International Circuit, Ad-Diraz Temple, Bab el-Bahrain Souk, Royal Camel Farm in Bahrain, Museum of Pearl Diving, and Beit Al Qurán.
Right in the heart of the city lies Bab Al Bahrain, the Gateway of Bahrain, which is the landmark monument of the City. As for exotic historical monuments in Manama, there are the Sitra, Siyadi House, Al Khamis Mosque and Fadel House, which are among the prominent ones.
Shopping and Entertainment
Manama is the most popular shopper’s hub in the Gulf, only next to Dubai. Being a duty free zone, Manama is home to numerous travellers, who enjoy shopping here and purchase cigarettes, perfumes and small gifts that are available at cheaper prices. The Bab el-Bahrain Souk district is the main place for purchases. Apart from this, you get to choose from a range of fashionable dress materials, designer fabrics, jewellery, and high quality pearl and gold.
The Moda Mall and the Manama Souk are the other shopping destinations in Manama.
Entertainment in Manama is quite exciting, as you have the option of choosing from activities such as visiting places of historical interest, museums, or the fort, getting familiar with wildlife in Manama, enjoying nature tours, trekking and eco-tourism. You could also visit the art hotels presenting traditional songs and dances of Arabia at night, as it is a treat to watch live performances of entertainers. There is the horse or camel racing to watch for those interested. Sport activities are also quite popular in Manama.
On the whole, if you are planning for holidays at sea side, Manama may seem to be just the right destination for you. The Bahrain capital is a striking city with a mixed crowd including Europeans, Australians, Arabs, Indians, Pakistanis and others, although Manama is mostly frequented by people from neighbouring Arab nations.