Manama City Guide
Manama is the island nation of Bahrain’s capital city. This modern, sparkling city is home to people from all over the world, as well as the local Bahrainis, due to the country’s booming economy. Manama’s name means ‘sleeping place’ but you wouldn’t know it from the plethora of lively night spots that the city has to offer.
Manama was named the Arab City of Culture not long ago and any Manama city guide will tell you that there are many beautiful art centres to be found in this shining metropolis. It’s also known for its extensive and eclectic National Museum. The historic capital is a dazzling collision of the old and new. There have been settlers in Manama’s area for over a thousand years, but now the shining towers of its World Trade centre make it clear that Manama is a modern capital with a lot to offer.
Things to do in Manama
A visit to Bahrain National Museum is known as one of top things to do in Manama for tourists. It’s a useful introduction into what the rest of Bahrain is like, with fascinating exhibits featuring ancient archaeological finds and images depicting Bahraini culture. The Al-Fatih Mosque is a breath-taking place to visit. This immense, lovingly crafted building was made on reclaimed land and is actually the largest building in the country. A tour around the mosque is a good introduction to Islamic culture. If you want to get a feel for the city's swarming centre, the Bab al-Bahrain or ‘Gateway to Bahrain’, is a good place to start. Built in 1945 by the British, this magnificent gateway opens into the heart of Manama.
Things to see in Manama
If you’re interested in learning more about Islam, the Beit al-Quran holds a large and interesting collection of Qurans. The museum building itself is one of the fascinating things to see in Manama, its towering walls are surrounded by carved Kufic script. To check out Manama’s artistic scene, visit the La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art, which is an enchanting exhibition space with lots on offer in its large complex. The National Theatre of Bahrain, next to the National Museum, will also be of interest to art and culture lovers. If you want to get a feel for Bahrain’s modern building projects why not take a look at the awe-inspiring sky scraper that houses its world trade centre.
Transport to Manama is fairly simple; Bahrain International Airport is the only airport in Bahrain and it is to the east of Manama in Muharraq. A taxi can be hired from the airport to Manama, but it’s a good idea to check that you are being metered or decide on a price first.
Transport in Manama itself is also largely done by taxi, although there are public buses on offer if you can master the timetables. Many tourists take Manama transport into their own hands by renting a car.
One of the key Manama events that it’s really worth visiting for is the International Book Fair that is usually organised for the end of March or early April. The Bahrain International Music Festival is also held in Manama in the National Theatre, usually in late September or October, and has really boomed since Manama was named city of culture. The International Garden Show is also held in Manama and fills the exhibition centre with beautiful sights and scents.
Restaurants in Manama
Manama has an impressive and international dining scene, with all types of world cuisine on offer. If you’re looking for a local speciality you should keep an eye out for Qoozi, a delicious grilled, stuffed lamb dish. A visit to any of Bahrain’s welcoming coffee houses is also worth doing as coffee plays an important role in Bahraini culture. The main place to find restaurants in Manama is the Adliya area, where there really is every type of food on offer at a very high quality. If you want to try some traditional Bahraini food shopping visit the Manama Souq.