Manama Introduction Walking Tour, Manama

Manama Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Manama

The capital of Bahrain, a small island nation sometimes jokingly addressed as "The Land of Two Seas" (due to its location between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Bahrain), Manama proudly bears a nickname of its own – “The Pearl of the Gulf”. The latter highlights its status as a cultural and economic hub and refers to the pearl industry being an important element of the national economy.

Although steeped in history – the territory of the city has been inhabited for more than 5,000 years – Manama is a modern, cosmopolitan metropolis, projecting an image of prosperity, and replete with monuments, fountains, parks, and archaeological sites.

Owing to its strategic location at the crossroads of key commercial routes in the region, the city played an important role in the Gulf trade. The name "Manama" is derived from the Arabic word "al-manamah," which means "a place of rest (or dreams/tranquility)."

Throughout the centuries, the city has been ruled by various powers, including the Portuguese, Persians, Ottomans, and British. In 1783, the Al Khalifa family, a Sunni Muslim dynasty, took control of Bahrain and made Manama their capital. Since then, the city has evolved significantly, becoming one of the most important financial and commercial centers of the region.

Today, Manama represents a mix of traditional and modern architecture. The upscale shopping malls, high-end hotels and restaurants, modern skyscrapers, and bustling financial district collectively have given the city a couple of new monikers in recent years, such as "Khaliji Manhattan", highlighting its skyline resemblance, and "Bahraini Vegas" – used by some to describe Manama's vibrant nightlife and entertainment options.

Among the most popular local sites is the Bahrain World Trade Center, a unique skyscraper with wind turbines integrated into its distinctive sail-shaped design. Other notable locations include the Matam Ajam Al Kabeer Mosque in the old town, and the Shrinathji Temple and Little India.

Bab Al Bahrain, this historic gateway is the main entrance to Manama's bustling souk, a popular spot for buying locally-made produce. Gold City, a large downtown complex, is another popular shopping destination. And if that's not enough, try out The Avenues, a massive shopping mall, one of the largest in the region.

Overall, Manama has no shortage of attractions to keep visitors busy, especially first-timers. This self-guided walk is bound to help you explore the most notable of them.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Manama Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Manama Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Bahrain » Manama (See other walking tours in Manama)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: ellen
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Bab Al-Bahrain Marketplace
  • Gold City
  • Matam Ajam Al Kabeer Mosque
  • Shrinathji Temple and Little India
  • Zamil Tower
  • Bahrain World Trade Centre
  • The Avenues
Bab Al-Bahrain Marketplace

1) Bab Al-Bahrain Marketplace (must see)

Bab Al Bahrain, or Gateway of Bahrain, is located in Customs Square in Manama's former central business district (CBD) and marks the main entrance to the Manama souq (marketplace). Designed by Sir Charles Belgrave, adviser to the Emir, and completed in 1945, Bab Al Bahrain once stood close to the water's edge. Due to extensive land reclamation in later years, it now takes more than 10 minutes to walk to the sea from Bab Al-Bahrain. The monument itself was refurbished in 1986 to incorporate Islamic architectural features. Today, the ground floor houses the tourist information office and a handicrafts shop. The monument consists of a huge arch, below which runs a road, which is often referred to as the entrance to the Manama souq.

The Al-Fateh Mosque (also known as Al-Fateh Islamic Center & Al Fateh Grand Mosque) is one of the largest mosques in the world, with the capacity to accommodate over 7,000 worshippers at a time. It is located next to the King Faisal Highway in Juffair, which is a town located in the capital city of Manama.

The huge dome built on top of the Al-Fatih Mosque is made of pure fiberglass. Weighting over 60 tons (60,000 kilograms), the dome is currently the worlds largest fibreglass dome. The marble used in the floors is Italian, while the chandelier is from Austria. Throughout the Mosque, there are calligraphy writings, in a very old type of style called Kufic. Al-Fateh now includes the new National Library which opened to the public in 2006. The mosque was built by the late Sheikh Isa ibn Salman Al Khalifa in 1987. It is named after Ahmed Al Fateh, the conqueror of Bahrain.
Gold City

2) Gold City

Gold City in Manama is a renowned jewellery shop that offers a wide range of high-quality jewellery collections. They specialize in gold, silver, platinum, and diamond jewellery, and are considered one of the best gold jewellery shops in Bahrain.

If you're in search of elegant and unique jewellery pieces, Gold City is the place to visit. They have an extensive collection of gold jewellery, including rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and bangles, which are available in a variety of designs and styles. Their gold jewellery collection is crafted using pure gold and is available in different carats to suit your preference and budget.

In addition to their gold jewellery collection, Gold City also offers a stunning range of silver jewellery, platinum jewellery, and diamond jewellery. Their diamond collection is particularly impressive, and features exquisite diamond rings, pendants, and earrings.

At Gold City, their team of experienced and knowledgeable staff are always on hand to offer expert advice and help you find the perfect piece of jewellery. Whether you're looking for a timeless classic or a contemporary design, they have something for every taste and occasion.
Matam Ajam Al Kabeer Mosque

3) Matam Ajam Al Kabeer Mosque

The Matam Ajam Al Kabeer Mosque in Manama is a magnificent example of the blend between Persian and Arabian architecture. Its exterior is adorned with blue tiles that are inscribed with Surahs and Verses from the Quran, and its windows and doorways are a testament to Persian architecture with their dome-shaped ends. The mosque is open to the public and daily prayers are performed here.

One of the highlights of this mosque is its beautifully maintained main prayer hall, which is decorated with intricately designed prayer rugs and an ornate roof. The combination of colors and designs in the hall creates an atmosphere of serenity and peacefulness that is perfect for prayer and contemplation.

Located just a few steps away from the Bab-Al-Bahrain, the Matam Ajam Al Kabeer Mosque is easily accessible and a popular tourist attraction. The mosque's notable location, a few minutes from the market, makes it an ideal stop for visitors who want to explore the area's cultural and architectural heritage.

The Matam Ajam Al Kabeer Mosque is not just a beautiful sight to behold, but also a place of historical and cultural significance. Its intricate designs and architecture are a testament to the creativity and skill of the craftsmen who built it, and its daily prayers are a reflection of the strong Islamic faith that is present in Bahrain. Visitors to this mosque are sure to be impressed by its beauty and captivated by its peaceful atmosphere.
Shrinathji Temple and Little India

4) Shrinathji Temple and Little India

Little India is a hidden gem nestled within the historic souq of Manama, Bahrain. Spread over three streets - Bab Al Bahrain Ave, Al Tijjar Ave, and Al Hadrami Ave, this area covers 5000 square meters and is home to numerous shops and restaurants. The history of the area is evident in the architecture of the buildings, many of which were built using Indian wood. It's a unique experience to sip a cup of chai and try a delicious Indian meal in this colorful and vibrant corner of Manama.

Shrinathji Temple is a significant heritage site located in the heart of Manama. Established in 1817, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shrinathji, who is revered as a manifestation of Lord Krishna in the form of a seven-year-old child.

The temple is particularly significant for the Thattai Hindu community, who migrated from Sindh before the partition of India and constructed the temple in Bahrain. As such, the temple holds great cultural and religious significance for the community, and it has been a center of Hindu worship and cultural events for over two centuries.

The Shrinathji Temple is a beautiful example of traditional Hindu temple architecture, featuring intricate carvings, ornate pillars, and colorful frescoes. The temple is adorned with statues and images of various Hindu deities, with Lord Shrinathji occupying a prominent position in the central sanctum.

The temple's location in Manama makes it easily accessible to locals and tourists alike, and it has become a popular destination for those seeking to explore Bahrain's cultural heritage. Visitors to the temple can participate in traditional Hindu rituals and ceremonies, as well as enjoy the peaceful and serene atmosphere of the temple grounds.
Zamil Tower

5) Zamil Tower

Zamil Tower, located in Manama, is a remarkable landmark in the city that spans over an area of 30,000 sq.m. Its strategic location at one of the most visible urban intersections makes it a prominent structure on the city skyline. The architects of Al Zamil Tower have skillfully blended traditional and modern architectural styles to create a unique and innovative structure that pays homage to the heritage of Bahrain.

The lower levels of the tower are designed with intricate traditional motifs, which reflect the nearby old buildings, and the upper levels boast a modernistic configuration that is both elegant and contemporary. The combination of traditional and modern elements has enabled the tower to stand out as a symbol of the harmonious relationship between tradition and modernity in Bahrain.

The tower's massing, materials, and elements are all carefully chosen to create a distinctive architectural statement that anchors the heritage of Bahrain. The use of Islamic motifs in the tower's design is transformed into a modern context, creating a balance between the past and the present.

The two towers are connected by a bridge that crosses Al Khalifa road, creating a grand gateway to the Manama souq. This unique feature adds to the monumentality of the building and highlights its importance in the city's architecture.
Bahrain World Trade Centre

6) Bahrain World Trade Centre

The Bahrain World Trade Center is a remarkable twin tower complex that stands tall and proud in the heart of the capital city of Bahrain. This unique structure was built between 2004 and 2008 at a cost of 150 million dollars. It features two towers linked with three sky bridges, which hold 225 kW wind turbines with a diameter of 29 meters.

One of the most distinctive features of the Bahrain WTC is its sail-like shape, which represents the sails of traditional Arabian dhows, and it holds the winds blowing from the Persian Gulf. This design has not only made the buildings stand out visually but has also helped to introduce sustainability to the buildings.

To make the buildings more energy-efficient, the designers introduced wind turbines instead of solar panels. The towers were designed to funnel and accelerate wind velocity, making the wind turbines more productive and efficient. The difference in the vertical shape of the towers has helped reduce the pressure differences between the bridges, providing an equal velocity among the turbines. This design has made it possible for the turbines to produce between 11% and 15% of the total power consumption of the towers per year.

Apart from its energy-efficient features, the Bahrain WTC has an impressive steel and glass façade, which resembles a synergy of three different buildings that come together to form one grandiose structure. This amazing architectural structure has 50 floors and is one of the tallest buildings in Bahrain, with a total height of 240 meters (787 feet) together with the antenna spire.

The Bahrain WTC represents a modern and exemplary skyscraper that should be brought into the books of architecture as one of the most helpful designs for the future. It is an outstanding example of how sustainability can be introduced into building designs while maintaining a visually striking appearance. Its unique design and energy-efficient features make it a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts and tourists alike.
The Avenues

7) The Avenues (must see)

The Avenues is a remarkable waterfront shopping center located in Manama.The construction of The Avenues began in September 2014 and was initially scheduled to be completed by February 2017. However, due to design changes, it was opened to the public on 29 October 2017.

The Avenues aims to provide a family-friendly environment that attracts family tourism to Bahrain. It features several outdoor jogging tracks, playgrounds, a gym, waterfront restaurants, cafes, arcades, a souq, and cinemas. The development also includes 75,000 square meters (810,000 square feet) of gardens, public parks, and a 40 meters wide promenade. The total leasable area is 38,000 square meters (410,000 square feet), accounting for 15% of the entire development area. The mall offers parking facilities that can accommodate up to 1,400 vehicles.

The developers decided to limit the mall's vertical height to one floor due to its close proximity to iconic landmarks. Additionally, the mall features a water taxi service that transports passengers to and from the development from various jetties around Bahrain.