Rich and prosperous, that's how you could define Manama, capital of Bahrain. The largest city in the emirate, it is known for its oil-related economy and thriving culture. Arab and Persian influences intermingle, enriching its identity. Very modern, Manama nevertheless abounds in older treasures. A city to discover during a stay in the Emirates! Here are our top 5 things to see.
1 – The souk of Manama
Away from the skyscrapers, the majestic Bahrain Gate (Bab Al Bahrain) leads to the intertwined alleys of the Manama Souk. The souk is a subdued atmosphere, full of the scent of spices, incense and heady perfumes. Smell, see, touch… The senses are awakened here, in front of the traditional stalls. The shops not to be missed? The gold souk and the pearl market. The latter, very famous, offers natural pearls chosen by the fishermen of the region.
2 – Al Fateh Mosque
Place of worship of all records, the Al Fateh mosque is so grandiose that it makes you dizzy. It is 70 meters high, has four domes, the central one weighs more than 60 tons. Colossal dimensions that allow the building to accommodate nearly 7000 believers. Inside, noble materials are echoed from all over the world: thick carpets from Scotland, finely worked wood from India, an Austrian crystal chandelier, stained glass windows from Iran and Italian marble from Carrara. The Al Fateh Mosque in Manama covers an area of 15 hectares, housing a library and a Koranic school. All surrounded by a lush palm grove.
3 – The archaeological site of Qal’at Al Bahrain
5 km from the capital of Manama, on the northern coast of the emirate, is the archaeological site of Qal’at Al Bahrain. Its particularity? Its layout in the form of an artificial hill, due to the successive occupations of many civilizations. Inhabited for nearly 4,500 years, the site has revealed over the course of excavations, the ruins of buildings with religious, commercial, residential and military purposes. Walking to the top of the hill (12 meters high), you will reach the Bahrain fort overlooking the sea. An excellent spot to admire the sunset!
4 – The National Museum of Bahrain
Among the things to see in Manama, there is also the National Museum of Bahrain. Opened in 1988, the place traces the history of this small emirate through nine spacious rooms. From archaeology to handicrafts and pearl culture, you will discover everything that makes Bahrain authentic. As a bonus, you will see a reconstructed traditional souk.
5 – The National Theater of Bahrain
Huge windows, a golden roof, elegant columns… The National Theater of Bahrain pays tribute to the Tale of a Thousand and One Nights in an ultra design way. Designed by the French architects of Architecture Studio, the building can accommodate 1001 people in its amphitheater. Great international artists perform there, like the Russian Bolshoi.