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Top 10 Places To Visit In Manama

Manama, Bahrain

Manama, the modern capital of the Gulf island nation of Bahrain, has been at the center of major trade routes since antiquity. Discover the following best attractions in Manama:

1. Al-Fateh Grand Mosque

The Al Fateh Grand Mosque is one of the country's most majestic landmarks and premier tourist attractions. The mosque boasts a sprawling 6,500 square meter land area and can accommodate over 7,000 worshippers at a time. In addition to its impressive size, the mosque's interiors are marvelous, with intricate calligraphy and magnificent Arabian architecture on display throughout the building. The mosque welcomes visitors of all religions, and guided tours offered in English and French provide an opportunity to learn about Islam, the country's history, and culture.

Entry is free. Overall, the Al Fateh Grand Mosque is a stunning example of Bahrain's beauty and cultural richness.

2. Bahrain National Museum

This is a must place to visit in Bahrain if you want to immerse yourself in Bahraini culture, understand the history and development of this nation, and just see beautiful and genuine pieces of art. There is also a beautiful part where you can see the scenes of Bahraini life and see the mannequins in traditional clothes which is interesting, particularly for kids. Also, they have a very beautiful collection of old Quran books. The staff is very friendly and like most attractions in Bahrain, it is free of charge.

3. Qala'at al-Bahrain

The Bahrain Fort is located 4 km from Manama. Built originally by the Portuguese, to defend their outposts in the Gulf, the Bahrain Fort area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once the capital of the ancient Dilmun civilization this site stood witness to Bahrain's role as a centre for commerce. Dedicate an afternoon here to explore the ruins, artifacts, and excavation sites.

4. Sheikh Isa Bin Ali House

In Al Muharraq, this magnificent building is one of the finest examples of traditional Gulf architecture, well preserved over the years. The rooms are kept cool in summer by way of an innovative system of draft towers. Although the rooms are unfurnished, the intricate detailing of the decoration is worth seeing.

5. Jai Shri Krishna Temple

This 200-year-old Hindu temple is the oldest in the Gulf and a testimony to Bahrain's ancient Indian community. Situated down a narrow alley in the heart of Little India, a red gate opens up to a courtyard overlooked by a painted two-storey building with decorated Indian elephants marching beside colorful red, yellow, and pink floral patterns. In the courtyard, modest shrines with huge images of Hindu deities sit in the open as worshippers pay their respects.

6. Al Khamis Mosque

This might just be the oldest mosque in Bahrain. It is believed a mosque has stood here since the 8th century, though the current ruins, which include two beautifully restored, climbable minarets, date from the 12th and 13th centuries. The site is particularly evocative when lit up at night. The mosque's name comes from the Thursday market that was held here for centuries. Black-and-white pictures depicting this make up the excellent exhibit in the visitor's center.

7. Beit Al Quran

This museum showcases an extraordinary collection of Qurans, wood carvings, and manuscripts. A beautiful glimpse of Islam and its different facets, this museum is very different from the National Museum. Particular emphasis is on Islamic calligraphy and its assorted forms. Another striking feature is that the exterior is covered in carvings of Kufic script. A perfect example of modern Bahraini architecture.

8. Moda Mall - Bahrain World Trade Center

Built in 2008, these 240m-high, 50-floor office towers were inspired by the traditional badgers (wind towers) seen in historic Bahraini homes. They are linked in the middle by three full-size wind turbines, which harness the onshore winds as they pass through the twin structures. This has helped the WTC win several awards for renewable energy and has made it one of Manama's most photographed modern landmarks.

9. Bahrain National Theatre

Yet another impressive work of architecture, this beautiful structure is adjacent to the National Museum. What is interesting about this theatre is its design which owes its inception to local tradition - right from the interwoven aluminium strips in the roof emulating traditional homes, the curvaceous interior of the auditorium is representational of the sea going down to the number of seats, 1001, a tribute to The Thousand and One Nights. A visit to attend a show, which varies from classical music to ballet or even contemporary, or just to admire the architecture, is quite worth it. After the Cairo and Muscat Opera, this is the third-largest theatre in the Middle East.

10. Manama Souq

Manama Souq is a warren of narrow streets and alleyways emanating south from Bab Al Bahrain. Here you can pick up everything from electronic goods and bargain t-shirts to spices and shisha pipes. But the real reason to visit is to wander through the bustling streets of a market that still evokes the atmosphere of an ancient souq.

The best time to visit Manama is in December. Winter is the most pleasant time to go, simply because it can be unbearably humid in summer. Most of Bahrain's beaches are closed to the public, so there isn't much reason to visit specifically during summer.

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