Manama "The Sleeping Place"
Though Bahrain consists of around thirty small islands, Manama has historically been the only major city, occupying over a third of the largest island.
Manama means ‘Sleeping Place’, but with its central atmosphere, its late-night shopping, and its lively bars and nightclubs, it’s hard to see when the city gets a chance to sleep.
Manama is a night bird and people flock in on weekends for fine dining and an off-duty drink. For those who prefer an early start to a late night, however, the city is sleepy enough by day, and it’s unlikely there’ll be much of a queue for the excellent Bahrain National Museum
Manama sustained itself largely through farming, though its climate made it possible to grow only a limited variety of fruits, the city nonetheless managed to outlive each of these empires. In 1783, the Al-Khalifa monarchs assumed power of Bahrain. Based in Manama, the same monarchy rules today, though with a reduced role in governing.
The discovery of oil in the 1930s reversed Manama’s economy entirely. Agriculture went into a total decline, as oil drilling and heavy industries took its place. With industrialization came political change. In 2000, a parliament was elected to share power with the royal family, and a year later women were given the right to vote. These measures have helped make Manama one of the Middle East’s most democratic capitals.