Things to Do in Manama
Al Fateh Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in Bahrain, with the ability to hold up to 7000 worshippers at any one time. The mosque was built using marble from Italy, teak wood from India, and glass from Austria, and its fiberglass dome in the largest in the world. The walls of the mosque are ornately decorated with Kufic calligraphy carved by local Bahraini craftspeople.
Tours begin in the library just inside the main entrance, where women will be given a black cloak and headscarf to wear for their visit. For non-worshippers, a tour of the mosque means learning about and observing various aspects of religious etiquette, as well as marveling at the mosque’s exquisite architecture and interior design.
A trip to Al Fateh Grand Mosque is best enjoyed as part of a day tour of Bahrain’s main highlights, such as the Bahrain National Museum, Arad Fort, Al Areen Wildlife Park, and the Bahrain International Circuit. Other day tours combine a visit to Al Fateh Grand Mosque with the Bait Al-Qur’an Museum, the Royal Camel Farm at Janabiya, the Burial Mounds, and Manama Souq.
The Al Areen Wildlife Park & Reserve in Bahrain is a conservation project that’s home to a variety of Arabian indigenous species. It is a sanctuary for bird, plant, and animal life, and has attracted a large number of migratory birds since opening in 1976. The park protects and breeds a number of endangered mammals, including native leopards and gazelles, plus Bahrain’s national animal, the Arabian oryx.
The park covers an area of seven square kilometers and is divided into four main sections: the Water Birds Parks, Wild Birds Park, Wild Animals Complex, and the Desert Flora Garden. As a visitor, you are free to explore most of these areas on foot, allowing you to get up close to the unique plant and birdlife. There’s also the option to watch a short film to introduce you to the park and its inhabitants, before boarding a bus to transport you on a tour around the reserve and past the animals that live there.
The Al Areen Wildlife Park & Reserve is ideal for families, wildlife enthusiasts, and budding naturalists of all ages, and can be combined with other attractions in the area to make for a fun and informative day out. A full-day tour to discover the highlights of Bahrain might include visiting Al Fateh Grand Mosque, the Bahrain National Museum, Arad Fort, and Bahrain International Circuit.
Shaikh Isa Bin Ali House in Muharraq was once home to Shaikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa, who was sovereign from 1869 to 1932, making him the longest ruler of Bahrain. The building was constructed around 1800, and a visit here will provide a glimpse into 19th-century royal life.
With its period architecture and fine wall carvings, this grand house is one of the best-preserved examples of traditional local architecture in the pre-oil era. Though unfurnished now, the ornate decoration within the house makes it a fascinating place to explore, with its multiple staircases, intricate archways, and pleasant courtyards. The building is divided into four sections, including one for the shaikh and separate areas for family, guests, and servants, each of which are well-labelled in English.
A visit to Shaikh Isa Bin Ali House can be combined with Bahrain’s other attractions exploring the country's history and culture, such as Kurar House, Muharraq souq, and the Shaikh Ebrahim Center.
The Beit Al Qur’an (House of the Quran) is dedicated to Islamic heritage and the understanding of the Holy Qur’an. Housed in a building based on the 12th-century Al Khamis Mosque, with its engraved Qur’anic verses and slender minaret, here you’ll find an impressive collection of Qur’ans and other antique manuscripts, showcasing a stunning display of calligraphy.
Visiting the Beit Al Qur’an provides an insight into Islam, and Kufic script in particular. The museum is spread across several floors, with exhibits well-labelled in both English and Arabic. There are also some rare Islamic artifacts on display, plus jewelry and beautifully decorated glass utensils that illustrate how Islamic heritage has influenced art all across the world.
The best way to visit the Beit Al Qur’an is as part of a larger day tour where you can explore the most famous attractions in Bahrain, including Al Fateh Grand Mosque, the Bahrain National Museum, Bahrain Fort, the Royal Camel Farm, the Burial Mounds and Manama Souq.
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