Muharraq was once the capital of Bahrain. It is now a beautiful historic area to explore where many traditional sites are preserved so we can see what life was like in the 19th century and more. Learn about the pearling era, the traditions, and architecture through these spots in Muharraq!
Muharraq Souq / Market
WHAT: This is one of the oldest running souqs in Bahrain, definitely put this spot on your bucket list for authentic traditional spots on the island to experience the heritage and city’s history through the old markets that sell sweets, spices, jewelry, coffee, and is famous for homemade halwa. The streets are busy so it’s not recommended to drive here as it’s hard to find parking, get a taxi or Uber instead. Open from 7 AM – 10 PM and 11 PM on weekends
WHERE: Souq Al Muharraq
WHAT: A 2-mile stretch that’s a UNESCO World Heritage since 2012, it is a story of the pearling history and cultural tradition in Bahrain consisting of architecture, historical buildings, traditional houses, seashore sites that tell of Bahraini cultural identity. To see this path in detail click here.
WHERE: Pearling Path
Al Khalifiyah Library
WHAT: The first public library in Bahrain that was set up in 1945 by HH Shaikh Abdulla bin Khalif AlKhalifa. It was later renovated to the architectural structure seen today, which is very aesthetically pleasing. It is open to the public and you’ll find a reading room, a research center, office spaces, and local and international books all accessible to the public. Many educational events are hosted here. Opening hours are 8 AM – 8 PM from Sunday to Thursday, 9 AM – 5 PM on Saturdays, and closed on Fridays.
Siyadi House / Bait Siyadi
WHAT: A 19th-century residence of a well-known pearl merchant Abdullah bin Isa Siyadi, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2012. The architecture has detailed carvings and craftsmanship that would delight any history buff. Check it out to learn more about the pearling era that dominated the economy and heritage of Bahrain and to see how wealthy families of pearl merchants lived.
Sheikh Isa Bin Ali House
WHAT: Open daily from 9 AM – 5 PM and closed on Fridays. The entrance fee is 1 BD. Constructed around 1800 and was the beautiful house of Sheikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa. Check it out to learn about royal life and architectural intelligence in the 19th century. It is considered one of the most impressive examples of Gulf Islamic architecture on the island. This attraction is a must-see for anyone wanting to learn more about Bahrain history.
Souq Al Qaysaria
WHAT: Formed in the 19th century and is older than Muharraq souq where it is located! It is part of the Pearling Path which stretches for 2 miles that takes you on a journey of Bahrain’s pearling heritage and is a UNESCO World Heritage since 2012. The souq is very unique and should be visited to get to know how Bahrain operated over a hundred years ago. You’ll find shops selling pearls, spices, tea, traditional clothing as well as you can enjoy a Bahraini breakfast or a cup of Karak from traditional cafes. Bahrain is known for its natural pearls and you can purchase authentic certified pearls from this market. Open from 7 AM – 2 PM from Sunday to Wednesday and 9 AM – 6 PM on Thursday and Saturday, on Fridays, it is open from 3 PM – 6 PM.
WHERE: Muharraq Souq
Shaikh Ibrahim Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center For Culture & Research
WHAT: Opened in 2002 as a modern reconstruction of the original majlis of Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa who lived in the 19th century and was known for his love and passion in education, culture, philosophy, and arts and hosted leading figures from around the world at his majlis to open dialogues. The center today has hosted over 400 artists, speakers, philosophers, and poets to share their art and thoughts through weekly events. Opening Hours are from Saturday to Thursday from 8 AM – 1 PM and 4 PM – 7 PM.
WHERE: Shaikh Ebrahim Cultural Center, Muharraq
Bait Al Kurar / Kurar House
WHAT: This museum opened in 2007 to preserve the traditional Bahraini art of Kurar embroidery at the Shaikh Ebrahim Center. Learn about the ancient and traditional form of gold thread weaving into clothes through the area walking through a workshop, gallery, a seating area and witness the five remaining women carrying on the Kurar craft. Back in the day, Kurar was a social activity in the area and multiple homes would work together to create thobs for women. Open from Saturday to Thursday from 8 AM to 1 PM and 4 PM to 7 PM. To learn more about Kurar embroidery, click here
WHERE: Kurar House, Muharraq
Bait Khalaf / Khalaf House
WHAT: A memory of Manama, this traditional house was restored by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in 2013 located at Shaikh Ebrahim Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Centre for Culture & Research. Check this out to get a feel of the Bahraini lifestyle a generation ago and the traditional houses of Manama pearling merchants. Free entrance and open from 8 AM – 1 PM and 4 PM – 7 PM from Saturday to Thursday.
WHERE: Khalaf House
Bahrain Fort / Qal’at Al Bahrain
WHAT: Although this is not in Muharraq, this UNESCO World Heritage site is an important historical site in Bahrain that we feel should be checked out as it is one of the most important historic political and military forts in the GCC. The Bahrain Fort Museum was opened in 2008 on-site so visitors can learn more about the fort and check out preserved artifacts and galleries of archaeological periods. The area is beautiful and makes for a good backdrop to your photos! The fort is open daily from 8 AM – 6 PM and the museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8 AM – 8 PM. The entrance fee is 2 BD.
WHERE: Al Qalah *not Muharraq