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Last updated : Nov 2009
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Bahrain is an area of 33 islands with a combination of ancient and modern lifestyles. Very tall modern city buildings share the landscape with epitome of Islamic art, majestic mosques, culture and architecture.


Bahrain’s capital, Manama is modern, and dominated by a Manhattan style skyline. The souk is found in the old town centre, only a short distance away from the archway of Bab al-Bahrain. Though much of the nearby quarter is modern, the street layout and separation of occupations still follow traditional lines, the gold souk, for example, is to be found to the south eastern vicinity of the market and is especially striking during the night.

Much land, some as well as the diplomatic region, has been reclaimed from the sea. The very old city capital of Bilad al-Qadim dating from AD 900 is just outside Manama.


For those wishing to see some of Bahrain’s past, a visit to the A’ali Burial Mounds is suggested. It is presumably the world's largest prehistoric cemetery with around 170,000 burial mounds, which dates from between 3000 BC and AD 600.

Some other ancient sights are The House of Beit al-Jasra (the home town of the Amir, Bahrain's ruler), Beit al-Siyadi (the pearl trader's 19th century house), Barbar Temple, the historic forts of Arad, Bahrain, and Riffa, which is the National Museum (tracing the archaeological development of Bahrain and including a historic burial mound dating from 2800 BC that was removed from the desert and restored).

Also, Bait al-Qur’an (a sight of a rare selection of Islamic manuscripts), the al-Fateh Grand Mosque (Bahrain’s largest mosque), the Heritage Centre (mainly on traditional Bahraini culture) and several Oil Museums bring interest to visitors.

In the ancient vicinity of the town, historic houses still maintain their ‘wind towers’. Constructed 5 to 6 metres (16 to 20 feet) above the house and open on all four sides, they act as simple air conditioning units.

Further tourist sights include long stretches of sandy beach and coral reefs. The largest and finest beach is found at Al Jazair, which is complete with pavillions, beach huts, and picnic areas.

Journeys in traditional boats (dhows) are available for both Bahraini people and foreign tourists to take across the islands to other places, which include al-Areen Wildlife Sanctuary (where you can find nearly extinct species such as Arabian Onyx), A’ali Village, al-Bander Resort, al-Dar Islands, Desert Camp, Jebel Dukhasn (Mountain of Smoke), King Fahad Causeway and Tree of Life.