Manama / Bahrain

Manama / Bahrain

Author Anne Plau

Bahrain is a small island nation in the Persian Gulf. About 1.5 million people live in an area of ​​780 square kilometers (2020 census). Bahrain consists of 33 islands and lies between the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia and the western coast of Qatar. Manama is located on the largest island, also called Bahrain. The state's capital is also its largest city. Manama serves as the country's economic and political center.

Manama article overview

Manama skyline

Manama skyline


The only road to the mainland so far was built between 1981 and 1986. With a total length of 25 kilometers, it connects the states of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain via dams, islands and bridges.

History in a nutshell 

Bahrain has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. Archaeological findings indicate that the island has been inhabited for at least 5000 years. The island kingdom was influenced by various civilizations, including Sumerians, Assyrians, Babylonians and Persians.

With the spread of Islam in the 7th century AD, Bahrain was Islamized. The region flourished under Umayyad and Abbasid rule.

Manama - Al Fateh Mosque

Manama - Al Fateh Mosque


In the 16th century, Bahrain was conquered by the Portuguese. This period was marked by conflict and unrest as the population rebelled against foreign rule. The Safavids drove out the Portuguese in the 17th century, and the Omani came later. During this time, Bahrain was relatively stable and independent.

In the 19th century, Bahrain became a British protectorate, with the British entering into a formal protection treaty with the ruler of Bahrain. This led to a certain degree of British influence in the region. Bahrain gained independence from Great Britain on August 15, 1971.

politics and society 

Bahrain is a semi-constitutional monarchy. The King of Bahrain, currently King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, is the head of state. Its power is partially limited by the constitution and an elected parliament.

Manama - banking tower in the Financial District


Manama - banking tower in the Financial District


Manama - Yateem Mosque in the Financial District


Manama - Yateem Mosque in the Financial District 


Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken. Islam is the state religion and Sharia is the essential basis of jurisprudence.

Bahrain is considered a wealthy country with a comparatively high per capita income. This is largely due to revenue from the oil industry.

In recent decades, the country has experienced social and political changes, including protests and calls for political reform. In the 2010s there were protests in the wake of the Arab Spring, which led to political discussions and reforms.

Economy 

The development of the oil industry plays a crucial role in the country's economic transformation. The discovery of petroleum in Bahrain occurred in the 1930s and had a dramatic impact on the economy. The revenue from oil exports allowed the country to renew its infrastructure and finance social programs.

Manama - building land


Manama - building land


Manama - Khalifa Bin Salman Port ahead


Manama - Khalifa Bin Salman Port ahead 


In the 1970s, Bahrain, like many other oil-exporting countries, sought greater control over its oil resources. This led to the nationalization of the oil industry. Since then, Bahrain has continued its efforts to discover and develop new oil reserves. The development of technologies for the extraction of oil that is difficult to access plays an important role. In recent years, Bahrain has placed increased emphasis on sustainable practices and environmental awareness in the oil industry. This includes investments in renewable energy and environmental protection measures.

At the same time, Bahrain recognized the need to diversify its economy in order to avoid being completely dependent on revenue from the oil industry. It invested in areas such as finance, tourism and services. This includes roads, airports, telecommunications and other essential facilities. Bahrain is now considered a major financial center in the region and is home to a large number of banks and financial institutions.

Manama - Harbor Heights in the Financial District

Manama - Harbor Heights in the Financial District


Tourism 

Bahrain attracts tourists from all over the world with its historical sites, modern architecture and many cultural events. The Bahrain National Museum, Al-Fateh Mosque and Qal'at al-Bahrain are popular attractions. The country has a vibrant cultural scene with a mix of traditional and modern influences. A prominent event is the Formula 1 race, which takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit.

Manama - Bahrain National Theater


Manama - Bahrain National Theater


Manama - traveling in the Muharraq district


Manama - traveling in the Muharraq district 


Bahrain for cruise passengers 

Bahrain is a popular cruise destination in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. The winter months from November to March are considered the best time to travel because of the pleasant temperatures.

Cruise ships dock in the capital Manama at the ports of Khalifa Bin Salman and Mina Salman. Both ports are primarily industrial ports. The distances to the sights of Bahrain and its capital are considerable. For example, from Mina Salman Port it is a good eight kilometers to Souq Bab Al Bahrain in the city center of Manama, and from Khalifa Bin Salman Port it is more than 20 kilometers.

Manama-King Faisal Highway

Manama-King Faisal Highway


Nevertheless, one should not miss exploring historical sites, traditional markets and cultural institutions in Manama. We report on this in detail in our article Manama / Bahrain Attractions.

January 2024