Not many cities in the Middle-East can boast holding the title 'Capital of Arab Culture' while simultaneously depict a cosmopolitan hub as well as Manama. Housed in the north-east of the island of Bahrain, this metropolis is home to approximately 157,000 inhabitants. Known for being the financial hub of the country, Manama is the focal point of the nation's economy largely thanks to the revenues generated from their oil reserves.
Proud of preserving it's Islamic culture, the Bahraini capital has several tourist attractions that speaks about the city's glorious heritage and illustrious history. Popular for being in the must-see list of every visitor, the Al-Fateh is one of the largest mosques (biggest in Bahrain) in the world which can hold more than 7,000 devotees in a single sitting. Other highlights include the planet's most colossal fiberglass dome and houses a new National Library. Take a trip to the Bahrain National Museum to view a loaded collection of the country's ancient archaeological artifacts.
History aficionados can get their fill by trekking to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bahrain Fort. Known in Arabic as Qal'at al-Bahrain, the structure is an exemplary representation of the nation's diverse and illustrious history. The Babar Temple is a popular tourist haunt that resides in the village of Barbar. Archeology buffs will be interested to learn that while excavating the site, ancient antiques such as tools, weapons, pottery, and several tiny pieces of gold were found.
One of the most important historic buildings residing in the city is the Museum of Pearl Diving. The museum exhibits the country's pearl-diving and seafaring heritage as well as houses an exquisite collection of vintage weapons, medicine, costumes, musical instruments as well as showcases the many uses of the date palm. Approximately 30km from Manama, be sure to visit the world-famous Tree of Life ( Shajarat-al-Hayat). Drawing 50,000 tourists annually to unlock the mystery of the existence of the 400-year old miraculous wonder for it continues to stand tall, alone and in the middle of a dry dessert with no underground aquifer or spring to support it.
Moving beyond it's rich heritage is a contemporary cosmopolitan hub that can give other cities a run for it's money. Head over to the Bahrain World Trade Center (BWTC) that is a 240-metre-high twin tower complex and is known as the planet's first skyscraper to incorporate wind turbines into it's architecture. One of the biggest tourist attractions that is relished by both kids and adults is the fascinating Lost Paradise of Dilmun Water Park that is home to a variety of thrilling water rides that can be enjoyed by the whole family. The biggest waterpark in the Middle-East was designed to replicate the ancient kingdom of Dilmun. Located on the east coast of the metropolis, Corniche al-Fateh is a seaside promenade that offers breathtaking views of the city's skyline that is adorned with sky-piercing buildings and a plethora of restaurants and bars.
Manama is not short of upmarket shopping malls that houses every brand available under the sun. Known to be a shopper's haven, The City Centre Bahrain houses over 350 retail outlets. Kids and adults can enjoy the entertainment activities offered in the shopping center such as the Magic Planet, climate-controlled indoor/outdoor Wahoo! Waterpark and a 20-screen Cineco Cinema. To garner an authentic traditional shopping experience, stop by at the Manama Souk for perfumes, spices, gold, sheesha bottles and so forth.
Manama is translated as the 'Place of Dreams' which is ironic as the city never sleeps with it's sparkling nightlife. As chocoholic is permissible in the country, Arabs from all over middle-east flock to Manama to grab a drink in the various trendy bars and clubs that are housed in the city. Be sure to try traditional middle-eastern cuisines in any of the restaurants that are scattered all over the metropolitan hub.
Manama offers abundant stay options to all kinds of tourists. The city boasts of a plethora of the best luxury hotels for the rich travellers as well as offers modest and cheap budget apartments for the penny pinchers.
Manama experiences arid climate. The best time to vacation in the city would be during the cooler months from November to February. To avoid public restrictions, avoid visiting the city during Ramadam (important Muslim festival).