Even today it is a name that many do not even know. Yet Manama is a city with a very ancient history. In fact, the first mention in the Islamic chronicles but since then the guide of Manama, the capital of Bahrain has been enriched with many chapters.
Located on the northeastern tip of the island Persian Gulf which gathers this kingdom, which was before a emiratehas undergone the succession of many rulers: here, starting from 1521, they settled The Portuguese and later, from 1602, it was the turn of thepersian empire which, much more recently, was replaced by the British protectorate. Now some signs of those times and those influences remain in the city and the result of these contaminations is a pleasant city that also represents the ideal base from which to start enjoying the beaches of the surroundings, the other islands and some sites in the area.
Although it does not have a huge population, this city is very developed – petrodollars help – and represents, as every Manama guide explains, the financial center of the country, so much so that its skyline is typically marked by the presence of skyscrapers which oppose the minarets of the mosques. The name of Al-Manama it means resting place but the irony is evident. Manama is a city that sleeps very little and offers a very high standard of living with a wide range of hotels and restaurants but also night clubs and social life. And it is no coincidence that the many expats who live there admit that, without prejudice to the metropolises such as Dubai And Abu Dhabithis is a pleasant place to live.
Guide to Manama: the wealth of oil
Manama’s economy has traditionally been based on harvesting pearls, there fishing, the construction of boats and commerce, but traces of this matter have now remained almost only in museum exhibitions. Indeed, it was discovered in 1932 oil and this has upset and revolutionized the life and economy of the city which has recently staked everything on the tertiary sector and tourism. Declared a free port in 1958, Manama has also grown thanks to the facilities of the port of Mina Salmanin the al-Qulayah Inlet area, which have acted as a driving force for trade and the arrival of visitors from abroad.
Tolerance and openness for tourists
More open-minded than other countries in the GulfBahrain prides itself on its tolerance for other cultures, Manama is visited by large numbers of foreigners every year and its role as a tourist destination is growing so much that it now has more than eight million tourists every year. The vast majority of them come from neighboring Arab countries even though the country is becoming increasingly popular with Europeans and Americans.
The things to see indicated by our Manama guide are especially the natural beauties of the surroundings and some museums of the city in addition of course to the souks which contain the colors and scents of this part of the world. Bahrain is a very liberal Arab country, here for example alcohol is legal. But it is still an Arab country and although there is no particular dress code it is always advisable to prefer clothes that cover and do not offend the local sense of decorum.
The capital of Bahrain and the heat of the desert
The climate as it is easy to imagine is definitely hot. There are basically two seasons: the first one plus a cool one that runs from December to mid-March with highs that travel around 22/25 degrees. In summer, on the other hand, the heat is heavy with highs around 33/34 degrees in May and October and which even rise to over 38 degrees from June to September. The difference between night and day is small and the humidity is high.
When the desert temperatures give no respite, the only possible escape route is to dive into the sea. Thankfully, water sports are hugely popular in Bahrain and it is common for both tourists and locals to indulge in seaside activities all year round, thanks in part to the always pleasant temperatures in the Persian Gulf. Sail And scuba diving are particularly popular and the beaches always crowded.
Manama and things to see
The national museum of bahrain opened in 1988 and boasts a splendid collection of archaeological finds covering six thousand years of history with some very important pieces. Although the real treasure lies about four miles from Manama, along the coast: and it is the archaeological site of Qal’at al-Bahrain, one of the largest in the country and now a World Heritage Site. It is a hill built by man and that was the place where the capital of once stood Dilmun culturewhile in more recent times it has been used as portuguese fortress. The many layers that compose it show that this place was inhabited continuously from 2300 BC to the 16th century AD
Excavations have brought to light the remains of six overlapping cities but only 25 percent of the site has been excavated. Visitors can see the remains of several necropolises, and there’s also a visitor center with exhibits reconstructing them ancient life in this place. It is a site that deserves an in-depth visit of at least half a day and there is also a café for a break. But a piece of advice is a must: buy bottles of water in the small shops nearby. The prices are much better.
To experience the true flavours, scents and colors of the country our guide to Manama the capital of Bahrain advises you to dive into the local markets. Here visitors can discover traditions such as fabrics in different colors and jewels. The best buys are the typical carpets and the natural pearls. The souks it is divided into different sections and the shops are open until the evening while they are closed on Fridays. Vendors are aggressive and visitors should be prepared to haggle for everything.
Not only Manama: the neighboring islands
For those who want to experience the sea easily can reach Al Dar Island, a private island equipped as a resort with pleasant beaches from which to go for scuba diving, boat trips and other water sports. Although small in size there are several beaches in Al Dar to choose from – the beauty is that they are never overcrowded thanks to strict limits on visitor numbers. There are also good restaurants and shops on the island and it is famous for its beach parties and a nightlife that by Persian Gulf standards is very lively.
It is essential to book in advance as there are only 150 tickets available per day. It is also mandatory to carry a passport with you to set sail. Boats to the island leave from the fishing port of Yes between 20 minutes by car from Manama.
Another place to visit with a navigation of about an hour are the hawar islands, a group of 16 islands known for their spectacular nature and wildlife. It’s about another UNESCO World Heritage Site and are much loved by those who want to relax on the sea enjoying the spectacle of dolphins and flocks of pink flamingos. In addition to the beach, people come here to indulge in water sports such as water skiing, canoeing and sailing. About 4,000 people live on the islands and the source of income for all is tourism. Although the islands are geographically closer to the Qatarthe Hawar belong to Bahrain and are a popular weekend excursion for Manama locals.