When we think about the technology leaders of the world, people usually think about the USA, Japan, or South Korea. Even China can cross your mind. But, the Middle East? Not so much, right? But, you’d be wrong with that opinion, as many were before you. It is because when you think about the Middle East you primarily focus on the negative. In Iraq, Iran, and Syria. But, this region has so much more to offer. The most recent World Cup is proof of what we’re saying. Qatar shows just how developed the Middle East really is.
We are here to talk about yet another Middle East country that can stand toe to toe with the world’s most developed countries. The country in question is Bahrain. How have you heard of it? Of course, you did. We are talking about the island in the Persian Gulf, with its capital being Manama. Bahrain is a small country by territory but it has almost 1.5 million inhabitants. The capital Manama is home to 200 thousand of them. So, as you can see it is not a centralized place. This decentralization is going to be our subject for today.
As you can see, the majority of the population in this country is not localized in its capital. Instead, it is spread across the island in smaller cities. This is what brought one great idea by the Bahrain leaders out on the surface. In recent times, in this country, there is a Smart City Initiative happening. Have you heard of it? Do you know what it is? Well, it is an initiative that pushes all of the smaller cities in Bahrain towards being run as smart ones. What a smart city means in this sentence is a city reliant on technology in every sphere imaginable. The goal is to have better places to live, safer, more secure, more energy efficient, livable, and both short and long-term sustainable.
The smart city initiative is for everyone. The best and the only way for it to work as it’s imagined is by total cooperation between the citizens, officials, public administration systems, and of course businesses and visitors. The plan has been in motion since 2012 and is slowly working towards being implemented in most cities on this island. The country’s administration has plans to achieve what is called sustainable development goals which are closely tied to local cities and communities. The final goal is that the entire system including both public and private sectors be fully dependable and use technology.
Because of this initiative, you can expect to see a lot of ‘smart’ technology when you walk the streets of Bahrain cities. Their focus is entirely on technology. It is all about electric cars and smart traffic control. Beyond that, you’ll find yourself face-to-face with smart banks and cooling systems. The entire infrastructure in the city will be deemed as smart and it will all be with a good reason. But, don’t think that being smart is going to make things boring. Instead, Bahrain will remain as fun as always, as you can see in the few paragraphs below.
Top things to do and see when in Bahrain
Bahrain is an island nation comprising eight natural and man-made islands in the Persian Gulf. Bahrain, one of the many prosperous Arab countries, is a cultural center. It has gorgeous pearls, which at one point were the source of the economy of this island nation. Bahrain is known for its exotic enclaves, cultural attractions, and other interesting activities, like diving.
Visitors can enjoy the ruins of the Dilmun civilization here, scuba diving sites, desert towns, one of the world’s greatest mosques, and more. Let’s see what else you can do and see in Bahrain.
Dive for pearls
Do you love diving? Now you can discover valuable things while diving in Bahrain. The island’s economy depended on expensive pearls before gas and oil were in the picture. However, these days, the pearls are sourced from farms in Bahrain. However, if you are lucky, you can dive on the beaches here to find oysters or pearls. Also, you get to keep whatever you find. Know more about pearl-diving beaches and more at https://www.bahrainthismonth.com.
The second-largest city in Bahrain, Riffa, gets the most visitors. It is a historical city with many attractions, like Riffa Fort. Visit this fort to enjoy the mesmerizing view of the valley it provides. Other things to see in Riffa are the Riffa palace, the natural springs, the Riffa clock tower, and the shopping centers.
Explore Manama and its Arabic culture
Manama, the capital city of Bahrain, is a modern city with traditional values. From a distance, it looks like a metropolis, which attracts many people looking to earn well. However, for tourists, this city also offers an insight into an exciting Arabic city.
A city rich in culture and history, appealing to all from other Arabic cities and the west. Do visit the Bahrain National Museum to learn about its Persian past. Or visit Bab Al-Bahrain, the oldest and most historic souq, for spices, sweets, jewelry, and more. The national library of Bahrain is inside the mosque, answering every question about faith, culture, fiction, and more.
Learn about local handicrafts
One thing to do in Bahrain is shop for local handicraft items. The rich tapestry here includes embroidery, woodcarving, calligraphy, and pottery. All these are safe and kept alive by multiple cultural heritage institutions, like Al Jasra Handicrafts Center. You can witness basket weaving, woodworking, jewelry making, and more here. There are other centers in Manama and other cities where you can shop for these items.
Learn art and history in Muharraq
The third-largest city of Bahrain, Muharraq, has a rich history. Visit the city to learn about the essential trade center in the Persian Gulf in the past. It is also the home of the most successful football club in Bahrain. For history and art buffs, this is an essential city to visit.
Dive into the world’s biggest underwater theme park
Dive Bahrain opened to the public in September 2019, with the top attraction at the theme park being a submerged Boeing 747. There’ll be more structures in the future, including a replica of a traditional Bahraini pearl merchant’s house.
Explore Royal Camel Farm
This beautiful royal camel farm in Janabiya is a must-visit for all. The large farm houses 600 camels, with whom you can take pictures or feed. One of the best activities in Bahrain with kids is visiting the royal camel farm.
Visit Qalat al-Bahrain, the oldest UNESCO site
The oldest UNESCO world heritage site, Qalat al-Bahrain, is an important archaeological site in Bahrain. Featuring a 16th-century Portuguese fortress, the city dates back to 2300 BC. Relics dating back centuries can be found here. The fortress here is unmissable, with cultural events and concerts happening all year.
Visit Isa Town for shopping
The most happening shopping destination in Bahrain is Isa Town. The town, known for luxury homes and whitewashed villas, sells beautiful traditional Bahraini fabrics and handicrafts. Also, in Isa Town, engage with the local culture by enjoying a mint tea at a local café. The largest football stadium is also here.
Bahrain is a safe destination exposing you to new culture, art, and tradition. It is a Muslim nation, be mindful of their culture and respect their tradition when visiting.