Cities and Regions

Manama is the capital and largest city of Bahrain. It is situated in the northeast of Bahrain Island on the Arabian Gulf. It has a population of 155,000.


Manama was mentioned in Islamic chronicles as far back as 1345. It was taken by the Portuguese in 1521 and then by the Persians in 1602. It has been held, with brief interruptions, by the ruling Al-Khalifa dynasty since 1783. Manama was declared a free port in 1958 and in 1971 became the capital of independent Bahrain.

The economical base for Manama is petroleum, oil refining, dhow building, fishing and pearl diving and banking. At Port Suleiman are fish canneries and ship-building piers and heavy machinery industry.


Manama is served by Bahrain International Airport on the island of al-Muharraq, to which it is connected with a causeway.
Notable in Manama:


• The 25km King Fahd Causeway in northwestern Manama that connects Bahrain to Saudi Arabia. One of the most expensive bridges in the world. It traverses a wildlife sanctuary at Umm Nasan Island.


• Manama Town Landscape and Greenbelt Protected Area, which totals 470ha.


Al-Areen Wildlife Sanctuary.


• Beit al-Qur’an or Qur’an House which houses a valuable and comprehensive collection of Qur’an and manuscripts.


• The two minarets of Masjid al-Khamis (Thursday mosque), one of the Gulf’s oldest mosques. An inscription found on the site suggests a foundation date during the 11thC.


• Old Souqs such as the Wednesday Souq where local produce, spices, gold jewelry, local handicrafts and artisan work are abundant.


• Qal’at al-Bahrain, built in the 16thC by the Portuguese and known locally as the Portuguese Fort.


• Arad Fort, built in the 16thC, located between Muharraq and Muharraq peninsula.


• Siyadi House, a traditional Bahraini 19th C house built by the pearl merchant Ahmed bin Qassem Siyadi.


• Museum of Pearl Diving: a 1937 two-storey building. It was the first official center for the court in Bahrain. In 1984 it became the Traditional Heritage Center. It consists of a fishery room, pearl diving museum, music hall, wedding room, and court room, arranged in a series of rooms around an open central court.


Al-Manama is one of the twelve municipalities of Bahrain, and it is in the Capital Governorate, one of the five governorates. The University of Bahrain, founded in 1986, is located there.


Pearl Diving Museum

Beit al-Qur’an
King Fahd Causeway
Khamis Mosque

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