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Manama, Bahrain
المنامة al-Manāma
The twin towers of the Bahrain Financial Harbor.
Manama and Bahrain.
Coordinates: 26°13′N 50°35′E / 26.217°N 50.583°E / 26.217; 50.583Coordinates: 26°13′N 50°35′E / 26.217°N 50.583°E / 26.217; 50.583
Country Bahrain
Governorate Capital Governorate
 - Governor Humood bin Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa
Population (2001)
 - City 162,000
 Density 5,304/km2 (13,737.3/sq mi)
 Metro 345,000

Manama (Arabic: المنامة, transliteration: al-Manāma) is the capital and largest city of Bahrain, with an approximate population of 155,000 people.

Manama has emerged as the capital of independent Bahrain after periods of domination by Portugal and Persians earlier in its history. Today, it is a modern capital with an economy based around the sales promotion industry as crude oil takes a less pronounced role in the economy. And due to its thriving economy, a Danish firm proposed a skyscraper that would be over 1 km (3,281 ft) tall, called the Murjan Tower. Currently only a concept, if built it would be the world's tallest man-made structure, even surpassing the supertall Burj Khalifa skyscraper, although it would be shorter than the Nakheel Tower in Dubai if both are built.



Manama was mentioned in Islamic chronicles at least as far back as 1345. It was conquered by Portugal in 1521 and then by the Persians in 1602[1]. Since [1783] it has been under the control of the Al-Khalifa dynasty. Manama was declared a free port in 1958, and in 1971 it became the capital of independent Bahrain[2].

Manama seen from a SPOT satellite.

The north of Bahrain’s main island, which is dominated by Manama today, has seen human activity for roughly 5,000 years, as is indicated from the remains around Bahrain Fort. The Dilmun Civilisation made this area their capital, burying their dead farther south at the tombs of A'ali. The islanders were soon, however, disturbed by a series of invaders that arrived here by sea, beginning with the Assyrians during the BC period and ending with the Arabs. During these many centuries Dilmun, as it was at first known before its name was changed many times by each new invading power, was a trading post whose importance fluctuated depending on which empire dominated. Manama and its inhabitants first discovered Islam during the 7th century and by the 9th century began to lean to a more conservative almost socialist belief system that caused considerable friction with the surrounding Muslim lands. The Qarmartians, as this group was known, ransacked Mecca in 930 during the sacred Hajj, killing hundreds before escaping with the much revered Black Stone. A feud with the Baghdad-based Abbasids less than 50 years later saw the Qarmartians run out of town. The next major foreign intervention in Bahrain came at the beginning of the 1500s when the Portuguese naval fleets arrived, quickly crushing the small local population in Manama and the surrounding areas. Bahrain Fort was built during this era, probably to keep out the Persians who nevertheless managed a series of invasions as the whole island swapped hands between the Portuguese, Persians and Oman for the proceeding two centuries. Once the Persians eventually triumphed, it wasn’t long before the Al Khalifa family appeared from nowhere, or at least from nearby Qatar, to take control of the whole of the island at the end of the 18th century. The new rulers, whose dynasty continues to this day, sought protection against the Persians from the now dominant, empire-building British as Manama entered a period of colonialism that increased over time, not least when oil was discovered 30 km (19 mi) south in the centre of the island and first extracted in 1931. After World War II, Bahrain moved slowly towards independence and eventually in 1971 the British pulled out leaving Manama in charge of its own affairs. This was the beginning of a period that has seen it grow and flourish mainly thanks to considerable wealth accumulated through oil production and processing.


A scenic view of the Manama skyline on clear night, with the Bahrain WTC visible on the right.

Manama features an arid climate. In common with the rest of Bahrain, Manama experiences extreme climatic conditions, with summer temperatures up to 48 °C (118 °F), and winter as low as 15 °C (59 °F) with even hail at rare occasions. Average temperatures of the summer and winter seasons are generally from 17 °C (63 °F) to about 45 °C (113 °F). The most pleasant time in Bahrain is autumn when sunshine is low, along with warm temperatures tempered by soft breezes.


The city is located in the north-eastern corner of Bahrain on a small peninsula, due to this fact the city obtains a pleasant and a reasonable waterfront. As in the rest of Bahrain, the land is generally flat (or gently rolling) and arid. Manama is served by Bahrain International Airport on the nearby island of Al Muharraq, to which it is connected via a causeway.

A panoramic view of the combined skylines of Manama and Seef. From left to right:
1. The twin towers of the Bahrain WTC.
2. The twin towers of the Bahrain Financial Harbor (BFH).
3. The NBB tower (short building next to BFH).
4. The Almoayyed Tower (tallest in the photo, center of image).
5. The Abraj Al Lulu residential project (three towers) under-construction on the far-right).

Law and government

Manama is part of the Capital Governorate, one of five Governorates of Bahrain. Until 2002 it was part of the municipality of Al-Manamah. Councils exist within the governorates; eight constituencies are voted upon within Capital Governorate in 2006[3].


Manama is the focal point of the Bahraini economy. While oil has decreased in importance in recent years due to depleting reserves, petroleum is still the mainstay of the economy, while heavy industry (e.g. aluminium smelting, ship repair), banking and finance, and tourism are increasing in importance. Several multinationals have facilities and offices in and around Manama[4]. The economic base for Manama itself is financial services, with over two hundred financial institutions and banks based in the CBD and the Diplomatic Area. There is also a large retail sector in the shopping malls around Seef, while the center of Manama is dominated by small workshops and traders.


Streets of Manama, with the NBB tower in the background.

Road network

Manama is the main hub of the country's road network. At the moment the city's road network is under a huge wave of development, as the Ministry of Works is taking all the pressure to improve the road network in Manama, due to the fact that it is the capital and the main city in the country, where most of the government and the commercial offices and facilities are established, along with the entertainment centers. The Ministry of Works has set several plans and projects to ameliorate the situation of traffic in the city; it is concluded with some potential points. Roundabouts considered as one of the busiest spots in Manama, for that it was necessary to remove most of the roundabouts in the city and replace them with traffic signalised junctions. In additions, some of the junctions on the main routes around the city are being replaced and improved to interchanges, tunnels, flyover bridges and exits. Besides the traffic-jams, the vehicle population is increasing rapidly, which makes it difficult for the authorities to cope with the traffic problem. The outline of the present road network was traced in the early 1930s, soon after the discovery of oil. The four main islands and all the towns and villages are linked by well-constructed roads. There were 3,164 km (1,966 mi) of roadways in 2002, of which 2,433 km (1,512 mi) were paved. A causeway stretching over 2.8 km (2 mi), connect Manama with Muharraq Island, and another bridge joins Sitra to the main island. A four-lane highway atop a 24 km (15 mi) causeway, linking Bahrain with the Saudi Arabian mainland via the island of Umm an-Nasan was completed in December 1986, and financed by Saudi Arabia. In 2000, there were 172,684 passenger vehicles and 41,820 commercial vehicles. Bahrain's port of Mina Sulman can accommodate 16 oceangoing vessels drawing up to 11 m (36 ft). In 2001, Bahrain had a merchant fleet of eight ships of 1,000 GRT or over, totaling 270,784 GRT. Private vehicles and taxis are the primary means of transportation in the city.


Manama has a comprehensive bus service which is far more economical than other modes of transport. A minimum fare of 150 to 200 Fils allows you to travel by bus. Some bus routes link to other towns such as Muharraq and Isa Town.

Air traffic

Bahrain International Airport is located on Muharraq Island, approximately 7 km (4 mi) from the CBD. It is a premier hub airport in the Middle East. Strategically located in the Northern Persian Gulf between the major markets of Saudi Arabia and Iran, the airport has one of the widest range and highest frequency of regional services with connections to major international destinations in Europe, Asia and Africa.


Manama has a wide range of universities, colleges and schools. The following are some of the most popular:


Bahrain is not fully Islamic and Arabic. The country attracts a large number of foreigners and foreign influences, with just under one third of the population hailing from abroad.[5] Alcohol is legal in the country, with bars and nightclubs operating in the city. Football is a popular sport, with three teams from Manama participating in the Bahraini Premier League.

See also

Notes and references

External links

Official website

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : Middle East : Bahrain : Manama
The Manama city skyline
The Manama city skyline


Manama (Arabic: المنامة , transliteration: al-Manāma) is the capital and largest city of Bahrain with an approximate population of 155,000 people, roughly a quarter of the country's population. Manama has emerged as the capital of independent Bahrain after periods of domination by Portugal and Persians earlier in its history. Today, it is a modern capital with an economy based around the sales promotion industry as crude oil takes a less pronounced role in the economy.

Get in

All roads in Bahrain lead to Manama, so see the main Bahrain article for details.

Get around

By taxi

Taxis are expensive, yet they are the only way to get around without renting a car. Extra charges are added to fares starting from the airport (2 Dinars) and any hotel (1 Dinar). Always use the meter or you will, guaranteed, get ripped off. A ride to the central parts of city will cost around 5-6 Dinars ($13.30-$16.00).

By car

Renting a car is far more efficient economically. Manama is a small city on a small Island, you won't get lost for very long. Make sure to buy a map / it should cost around 0.50-1.00 Dinars ($1.83-$3.65)

Al-Fateh Mosque at night
Al-Fateh Mosque at night
  • Al-Fateh Mosque. One of the largest mosques in the world, capable of accommodating over 7,000 worshippers at a time and is the largest place of worship in Bahrain.< One of the top tourist attractions in Bahrain and highly recommended.  edit
  • Corniche al-Fateh. On the east coast of the city, this pleasant seaside promenade offers good views of the skyscrapers to the south and planes taking off from the airport nearby. Plenty of fun fair rides for the kids and shisha bars for the older set.  edit
  • Pearl Monument. Bahrain's unofficial symbol, this statue in the middle of a roundabout has six (very) stylized dhow sails holding a pearl aloft.  edit
  • Museum of Pearl Diving. Bahrain's historical cultural of diving for pearls in the Persian Gulf  edit
  • Bahrain National Museum, Al Fateh Highway. Natural and Cultural history of Bahrain  edit
  • Tree of Life, 30 km south of Manama. Famous lonesome tree in the middle of a dry desert. Scientists haven't figured out how it survives, since no underground aquifer or spring exists under that area. In fact, all underground water sources are around the tree are contaminated with salt, suggesting the tree may in fact possess a mutation rendering it salt-tolerant.  edit


Manama is a getaway for Arabs and expats residing in the 'alcohol banned' Arab countries. Tourists, particularly Saudis and residents of Saudi Arabia, come to Bahrain mainly for the nightlife.


Manama is the best place to shop for less! It offers the Manama Souq, which any tourist cannot miss. It is a marketplace consisting

  • Bahrain City Centre
  • Yateem Centre
  • Bahrain Mall
  • Dana Mall
  • Seef Mall
  • Marina Mall
  • Riffa Mall
  • Sitra Mall
  • Moda Mall


Restaurants in Manama run the gamut from cheap shwarma joints to five-star restaurants.


Cheap restaurants abound in the Adliya district.

  • Al-Abraaj, Adliya St, Manama, Bahrain. Perfect introduction for non-Arab folks to become accustomed to the Middle Eastern hospitality charm. Food is generous and tasty, and primarily from Lebanese/Turkish and Persian cuisines. Good value at $2-4BD per head.
  • Al-Siraj. The second-best shwarma in Bahrain for only 300 fils.
  • Burjuman Coffee Shop, Lulu Centre 2F. The main selling point of this Filipino-run joint is its location right next to the SABTCO bus terminal, but the menu covers sandwiches, burgers, rice and noodles and portions are generous. Try the excellent fried hammour (local fish) with the fixings for BD2. Main dishes BD1-2.  edit
  • Habara Snacks & Fish, Osama bin Zaid Ave, Adliya, tel 17 715 461. Great diner style cafe that cheerfully serves cheap fish and chips and other assorted snacks.
  • Lanterns, PO Box 20416, Manama, Bahrain, tel 1759 0591/1807. An atmospheric Indian restaurant with great food and lovely decor next to Burgerland Roundabout in Budaiya.
  • Zahle, Gulf Hotel, Al Juffair Street, Manama, tel +973 17 746 417/18. Serving impeccable Lebanese food with daily buffets and live entertainment.
  • Trader Vic's, a Polynesian dining/drinking experience, located on the grounds of the Ritz Carlton.
  • Upstairs Downstairs, a long time classic Bahrain restaurant. Smooth jazz band, music videos and great yet pricey food.


Manama has a busy nightlife by Gulf standards, but most of it seems squarely aimed at beer-swilling expats watching football on the TV — don't expect any Dubai-style clubs here. The scene is very much also geared towards middle class Bahrainis and Saudis, and not super rich Arabs and European tourists as in the UAE. The popular nightlife districts are Adliya, Hoora and Juffair. Business District nightlife is "less hygienic" if that's your thing.

  • Gold Club. Arabic night club featuring Russian girls doing their interpretation of traditional belly dancing.  edit
  • Harvesters, King Faisal Highway (Crowne Plaza). Very popular pseudo-British pub offering cold beer, pub grub and a Filipino band distinguished more by the singers' skimpy outfits than musical talent. Beers from BD2.5.  edit
  • JJ's, (Al Bustan Hotel). The largest Irish pub in the city.  edit
  • Queensbury Arms. Another great hot spot, great prices on drinks.  edit
  • Sherlock Holmes, (Gulf Hotel). Mock-British pub.  edit
  • Warbler's. Expat sports pub. Technically this is a private club, but the bouncers at the door seem more interested in keeping Arabs out than in checking dues cards.  edit
  • Wrangler's, Best Western Juffair Hotel. American-themed bar and dance club. Popular with expats and US sailors  edit
  • Digger's, Delmont Hotel. Australian-themed sports pub in the CBD. Popular with single male expats.  edit
  • Bahrain International Hotel, PO Box 3280, Manama, Bahrain. Three star hotel that is of average quality, but in a convenient location for travelers.  edit
  • Awal Hotel, Al Khalifa Rd, Manama 3252, Bahrain. Located in the main commercial & business district of the Kingdom of Bahrain, only 10 minutes drive from the International Airport and a short walking distance from the Bahrain seashore and the upcoming Financial harbor.  edit
  • Golden Tulip Bahrain (Formerly Hilton Bahrain), Old Palace Rd, Manama 1090, +973 17 535 000, [2]. Standard hotel that has some travelers mentioning that it is in need of a renovation. While the rooms are clean and the staff are amiable, the dull facade and decor may be depressing to people who are lodging here for more than a couple of days. One of the few redeeming qualities is that it has the only authentic Japanese restaurant in Bahrain. Based on the hotel web site, the hotel is renovated in 2008.   edit
  • Ramada Bahrain, Building 88 Road 351 Block 326 | Adliya, Bani Otbah Ave, Manama. Rooms are of a good size and the adjoining bathrooms are clean and spacious. The hotel provides airport transfers free of charge if you email in advance. Has pool on site but the cleanliness of the pool is questionable.  edit
  • Crowne Plaza Bahrain, King Faisal Highway (Diplomatic Quarter), +973-17-531122, [3]. Located a few km east of the city center on the road to the airport, the Crowne Plaza (formerly Holiday Inn) is a reasonably gracefully aging sprawling low-rise complex. The Astroturf-surrounded pool is rather depressing, and the hotel's main draw seems to be the popular Harvesters pub (see Drink). Largish gym (men and women have separate facilities), decent breakfast, service can be mixed. BD100.  edit
  • Banyan Tree Al Areen, Al Areen | PO BOX 75055, Manama 18108. Nothing short of sheer luxury, the Banyan resort impresses with its attention to detail and opulent surrondings. Careful thought goes into the visitor's stay, such as beds covered with rose petals spelling 'Welcome to the Banyan Tree'. The staff are welcoming and attentive, without being overwhelming, and the food is absolutely first class.  edit
  • Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, PO Box 55577, Manama, Bahrain. Featuring 7 stories of luxurious rooms all with a modern design. The Club Lounge restaurant features five different food presentations a day, and includes an American breakfast. Stunning views of the Arabian Gulf from the rooms are all included in the room rate.  edit
  • United States, Bldg 979, Road 3119, Block 331, Zinj Kingdom of Bahrain, (973)1724-2700 (fax: (973)1727-0547), [4].  edit
  • Saudi Arabia is just across the King Fahd Causeway — if you have the visa, of course.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:



Proper noun


  1. The capital of Bahrain.


Simple English

Bahrain from space, June 1996

Manama is the capital city of Bahrain. It is also the largest city in Bahrain, having almost 150.000 residents.


Manama has been a city since at least the 1300s, when it was mentioned in Islamic books. It was owned by Portugal from 1521 to 1602, by Persia from 1602 to 1783, and by the Al-Khalifa family for a long time after that. In 1971, Manama became the capital city of Bahrain.

Areas of Manama

The city is divided into a few parts:

  • The Diplomatic Area has most of the banks and government offices. This area is very important, because most of Bahrain's economy is connected to banks.
  • Gudabiya is the oldest area of the city, and it has the building where the parliament meets.
  • Hoora is where most visitors go. There are many parties in the clubs here at night.


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