The kingdom of Bahrain covers an area of 707 square kilometres, located in the Arabian Gulf and consisting of 33 individual islands. Bahrain occupies a beautiful location close to Saudi Arabia and linked by the King Fahd Causeway to the mainland for easy shopping and sightseeing trips. Bahrain, however, has an ambience all its own. Bahrain is a quite modern cosmopolitan country, considered a fashionable location amongst the Arab world. Modern restaurants and nightclubs abound and the facilities developed purely for tourism are amazing. The capital of Bahrain is Manama which is also the largest city in the country. The financial sector has now taken over as Manama’s prime industry, creating a centre for commerce with many office blocks and business people working together in cosmopolitan harmony.
Old and new co-exist quite comfortably side-by-side in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, with both the modern high-rise buildings interspersed amongst the historical architecture and traditional shopping souks. The average depth of the Arabian Gulf is 35 metres, although much of the waters closer to shore are much shallower. In Bahrain it is beach weather all year round, with temperatures coolest between December and March due to the prevailing north winds. The average temperature from July to September is around 36c. It can, however, get much hotter during the day, with dramatic drops in temperature when the sun goes down.
If it is history you are interested in the Bahrain National Museum will keep you occupied with its treasure trove of artifacts. By the time you have visited all the Bahrain ancient sites of interest and fortifications you will be overwhelmed by culture – and there is plenty to choose from. Make sure you visit the Siyadi House which was built by a pearl merchant, Ahmed Bin Qassem Siyadi. It is full of exquisite décor and beautiful features, with ornate ceilings and stained glass windows. Be sure to visit the upper reception room in which is installed a large safe recessed into one of the walls. Another place you really must visit is the Bair Al Qu’ran which was a house designed to keep the Holy Quaran and other priceless manuscripts safe.
No matter how culture-focused you are, you cannot visit Bahrain without a trip to the Soukh where the array of aromas, colours and sounds will create such a kaleidoscope it will knock your senses into orbit. In the Soukh you will find everything from local produce to every spice you can think of. There are innumerable gold and silver stalls in the Gold Souq and, visit the Cloth Souq for an array of materials with colours and textures which will astound you. Everything you ever imagined in the Soukh can be found there if you delve deep enough and, if you feel you want to visit the more upmarket shops, head for the amazing glass and chrome shopping malls. There you will find more designer shops than you ever imagined existed, especially all in one place.