View of the Bahrain National Museum in Bahrain
At Bahrain National Museum, you'll get a good introduction to Bahrain's history. One of the highlights is the archaeological finds from the ancient Dilmun civilization that called the island home. Next door at the waterfront is the huge Bahrain National Theatre, a fabulous showpiece of sleek, postmodern architecture.
Beautiful archway in Bahrain Fort in the Kingdom of Bahrain
The phenomenal UNESCO World Heritage-listed Qa'lat al Bahrain, or Bahrain Fort, is a 10-minute drive from central Manama. The fort built by the Portuguese in the 16th century as part of their defenses along the Gulf, but the hill site itself has been occupied from about 2,800 BC. Find out more in the museum next door, which showcases an impressive range of 500 artifacts unearthed here.
Stroll along the narrow lanes and byways of Muharraq and admire the restored traditional Bahraini houses. The Sheikh Isa bin Ali House features four courtyards and magnificently carved wooden doors. Equally spectacular is the Sheikh Ebrahim Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research, the former home of a renowned pearl merchant.
Great food is everywhere in Manama. Cruise to Bahrai and pop into a local, family-run spot for machboos, a simple classic dish or chicken or fish spiced with baharat — an Arabian spice blend that typically includes paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom — served over rice. Lamb is also a staple here: Try it as spit-roasted shawarma wrapped in pita bread or as ghoozi, grilled lamb stuffed with eggs, onions and spices.
Go shopping for pearls, perfume or colorful hand-painted ceramics at Manama Souq, the city's traditional open-air market. Pick up some silver jewelry, a brass coffee pot or a carpet from the shops in Adliya. During your visit to Bahrai, escape the heat to one of the air-conditioned shopping malls, such as the vast Bahrain City Centre, Seef Mall or the smaller Al Aali Mall.
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