Official language: Arabic
Time zone: UTC +3
Currency: Bahraini dinar (BHD)
The famous proverb says that all roads lead to Rome. In Bahrain, Rome should be exchanged for Manama – there, really all roads lead to the capital.
Around 30 km to the South from Manama, in the middle of a dessert, stands a lonely tree. It has not withered, even though there are no underground springs around. Scientists have been thinking about this mystery since many years.
Looking for original souvenirs? Go to the district Bab al-Bahrain. You can find there shops with hand painted ceramics, colourful fabrics, as well as pieces of art and exotic spices.
Manama, also called Al-Manāmah, is the capital, the biggest city of Bahrain and a place of living of around 25 percent of the country’s population. This rich Arabic city is often compared to Dubai. It has though something, that is attracting tons of tourists, and what is missing in the capital of United Arab Emirates – modesty and lack of ubiquitous splendour.
Bahrain became an independent state only in 1971, after centuries of domination of Persians and Portuguese. For the capital of the new country, whose economy till this day is based on mining of crude oil, was chosen Manama. Nowadays, you ca see there a business district with modern skyscrapers, huge shopping malls and numerous bars, clubs offering fun whole night long. From the other side, you will be fascinated by traditional houses in Muharraq and perfectly preserved monuments like mosque Al-Fateh that is one of the four biggest Muslim temples in the world.
Bahrain is famous not only for crude oil, but also for diving of pearls. You can get to know a lot about the history of pearl divers in the Museum of Pearl Diving located in the oldest building in the town. A journey back in time, even 4 thousand years back, will be provided by the National Museum of Bahrain, locate between Manama and Muharraq. It is also worth to go to Corniche al-Fateh, the boulevard on the eastern shores of the city, from where there is the most beautiful view for the business part of it. Must see is also Bahrain Fort (Qalat Al Bahrain) on the southern shore of the island, that was built in the 14th century. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
What to eat in Manama? The choice is vast, because in Bahrain there are served Arabic, Pakistan and even Indian dishes. The basis of the cuisine are baked on barbeque fishes and seafood, as well as meat dishes, like shawarma ( a kind of kabob), dajdaj (stewed meat in tomato sauce), yahni (meat with vegetables). In the city make sure to try dactyls and dishes that have them among ingredients, like dessert muhammara from rice, dactyls and sugar. Where to eat? It depends on how much money you got in your wallet. Restaurants with good cuisine and average prices are, for instance, Lumee, Haji Gahwa, Mohammed Noor.