In November 2013 we spent a day in Manama, the capital of Bahrain.
Our final destination was New Zealand, but we were able to make stops in Bahrain and Dubai along the way.
Bahrain is a small island country in the Persian Gulf with Saudi Arabia on one side and Qatar on the other.
We stayed at The Palace Boutique Hotel, a lovely hotel in the heart of the city.
After breakfast we walked to the Al Fateh Grand Mosque, Bahrain’s largest mosque.
It is also one of the largest mosques in the world.
The Grand Mosque occupies an area of 6,500 square meters and can accommodate up to 7,000 worshipers.
Visiting hours are from 9 AM to 4 PM except for Fridays and public holidays.
Female visitors are required to wear an Abayah (cloak) which is provided by the Ahmed Alfateh Islamic Center.
I brought my own scarf to cover my head.
Thankfully, a sweet girl asked if I would like for her to wrap my head to match hers.
The Islamic Center offers free tours that last about 20 minutes and I highly recommend it.
I learned so much about the construction and history of the mosque as well as their culture and faith.
The main prayer hall is massive and elegantly decorated.
The tour ended just before prayer time.
Our guide led us upstairs where we could watch and listen.
What an amazing experience.
After prayer, we explored the courtyard:
My favorite part of the mosque.
This gentlemen wanted to make sure I took a picture of the door:
When I asked if he’d stand with me in the photo, he agreed with enthusiasm and warmth.
I’ll never forget him.
We only had about 18 hours in Manama but I loved every second of it.
Everyone we came in contact with was kind, friendly, and helpful.
I hope our travels take us back to Bahrain one day so we can see the rest of their beautiful country.
Next stop, Dubai.
If you are planning a trip to Bahrain, chances are you’ll need to get a visa.
You can do visa on arrival, but I recommend applying for an eVisa to avoid the long line at the airport.