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Arabic: 'al-manāma

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Manama, Bahrain
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Manama, capital of Bahrain. Photo: Ahmed Rabea.

Manama, Bahrain
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Financial harbour of Manama. Photo: Gabby Canonizado.

Manama, Bahrain
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Photo: Gabby Canonizado.

Capital of Bahrain with 150,000 inhabitants (2005 estimate), situated on the Persian Gulf, north on Bahrain Island.
Manama is the capital city mainly from definition, f.x. it is not the residence of the king, who has his palace in Ar-Rifa. Some of the functions of a capital are shared with other towns, but the majority of ministries are here. Manama is, however, the centre of the only real urban zone of small Bahrain. Together with Al-Muharraq, right across the straight, Manama forms the settlement which largely is the original Bahrain.
The economy of Manama is diverse, now being a centre of finance. There are also petroleum companies. Some traditional activities still exist, like dhow building, fishing and pearl diving. Manama is the commercial centre of Bahrain, home to the most popular shopping malls. Presently, many working in Manama live in one of the satellite towns a few kilometres away. It also is a very popular recreational centre for Saudis, with alcohol legal in Bahrain, Manama has several bars and nightclubs, as well as beach clubs.
Manama is currently seeing many significant skyscrapers being built, completely changing the city's skyline. Much of the new Manama is built on reclaimed land, allowing the traditional town partly to survive. Among sights is the Friday Mosque, with its colourful minaret, built in 1938 from the first oil revenues.
Manama's transportation network is presently undergoing extensive upgrading. Manama is in itself the communications hub of Bahrain, directly connected to the causeway to Saudi Arabia and with the Bahrain International Airport conveniently 7 km to the north.
The University of Bahrain was founded in 1986, and has most of its faculties in Manama.

3rd millennium BCE: Manama roughly corresponds with Dilmun.
7th century CE: The local villagers are forced to convert to Islam.
899: Becomes part of the Qarmatian state, which challenged Islamic structures of Arabia at the time.
1077: The Qarmatian state loses its control over Al-Hasa in Arabia, and only Bahrain remains under its control.
1521: Becomes a Portuguese port.
1602: Conquered by the Persians.
1783: The Al Khalifa tribe takes control of Manama, but the capital of their domain is Muharram.
1923: Manama becomes capital of Bahrain.
1958: Manama is declared free port.
1971: Bahrain gains its independence with Manama as capital.

By Tore Kjeilen