Discover one of Bahrain's cultural highlights at this museum with exhibits covering 5,000 years of the country's history. Full of exceptional historical and cultural artifacts, the Bahrain National Museum is one of Manama's best-loved attractions.
The museum complex, first opened in 1988, is hosted in a magnificent ocean-facing building with stunning views of the island of Muharraq off the coast, and it holds a variety of contemporary art exhibitions and music performances. The building boasts around 20,000 square meters of space inside, as well as a sunny courtyard displaying contemporary sculptures. There are nine main halls across six sections, featuring a variety of artifacts from the island nation's history, such as traditional handicrafts, burial mounds, and ancient documents.
Enter the bright, airy exhibition halls and discover countless artifacts labeled in English and Arabic. From Neolithic pottery and Hellenistic glassware to Islamic manuscripts and rare Qurans, as well as finds from the ancient Dilmun civilization that once lived in the area, you'll quickly learn to appreciate the area's archaeological heritage. On the ground floor you'll be amazed by the massive satellite map of Bahrain, which takes up much of the floor. The Hall of Customs and Traditions examines long-established ceremonies for births, weddings, and other celebrations, as well as common religious beliefs, storytelling, and popular medicine from the region. The Natural History Hall (added in 1993) is the nature-lover's dream showcasing the region's native plants and animals. Other highlights include ancient burial mounds dating from 2300 BC to 200 AD that were dismantled and reconstructed in painstaking detail. There's also a replica of a traditional souq that colorfully displays the country's long history of trade and craftsmanship.
Alongside the nine galleries containing the permanent collection, there are also several spaces hosting temporary exhibitions, as well as an art gallery showcasing works by leading Bahraini artists. There is also a lecture theater for talks, concerts, and other events on site. Before you leave, stop by the gift store for an excellent assortment of souvenirs and gifts.
The Darseen Café, located on site, is an ideal place to relax after your visit to the museum. With huge glass windows that let in natural light and offer a view of the picturesque Arabian Gulf, the cafe provides the perfect setting to enjoy a snack from a selection of international food and traditional Bahraini dishes. Allow several hours for your visit to this enormous museum complex, with an array of permanent and temporary exhibits to enjoy, taking in all aspects of Bahraini culture and history.