With a fascinating history as a trade hub for the Arabian Gulf, Manama is now a glistening modern capital. Cutting-edge skyscrapers tower over ancient forts and traditional souks, with the desert landscapes of Bahrain stretching to the south.
Things to do in Manama
Gain better understanding of local history and culture at the impressive Bahrain National Museum, which has exhibits spanning more than 5,000 years of history. There are ancient archaeological artefacts from Dilmun to displays on Bahrain’s pre-industrial past, as well as an exhibit detailing the Babylonian-era Durand Stone.
Bahrain Fort boasts a commanding position overlooking Manama, having been built in the 14th century on an ancient Dilmun settlement. Excavations at the UNESCO World Heritage Site have unearthed antiquities from Kassite, Greek, Portuguese and Persian occupants over the fort’s storied past.
Visit Al-Fateh Mosque, named after the founder of Bahrain, which boasts the world’s largest fibreglass dome that weighs more than 60,000 kilograms. It has the capacity for more than 7,000 worshippers to pray within its elaborate interior and also holds a library with valuable hadith writings.
A short drive south of Manama takes you to the mysterious Tree of Life, a 400-year-old tree that stands in the middle of the Arabian Desert. Without any visible water source, no one is certain how this tree has managed to survive, with some believing it extracts moisture from breezes that blow from the Persian Gulf.
Getting around Manama
Bahrain International Airport is the primary gateway to the country and located 15 minutes’ drive north-east of Manama. Buses and taxis are the main means of getting around the city, which can also be walked in certain areas.