There’s no doubt that you’ll get to see at least some of Muharraq during your holiday  as it’s home to Bahrain International Airport. However, this island off the coast of the north-eastern tip of Bahrain, connected by three main causeways, is more than just a transport hub: Muharraq was once the capital of the country. Although it has since been replaced by Manama, it has strongly maintained its significance in the island nation, with many visitors and locals considering it to be the centre of Bahrain’s cultural heritage.

Shaikh Ebrahim Centre for Culture & Research
Wander through Muharraq’s narrow lanes and you’ll find plenty of traditional Bahraini houses. But the beautifully restored buildings within the Shaikh Ebrahim Centre for Culture and Research are your best stop for an insight into the country’s heritage.From the embroidery at Kurar House to the pearling exhibition at Bin Matar House, you can take a fascinating walk through history. There are also regular art exhibitions and film screenings at Maison Jamsheer, just a stone’s throw from the Centre.

Shaikh Isa bin Ali House
There’s a myriad of cultural attractions and architectural wonders that make Muharraq a must-see for history lovers. The most important and impressive of these is probably Shaikh Isa bin Ali House, a stunning 19th century building that was once the home of Shaikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifah. He ruled over Bahrain from 1869 to 1932, the longest reign of any ruler in the kingdom’s history. The building is an impressive example of traditional Islamic architecture, from its spacious courtyards and intricately carved wooden doors to the ingeniously designed windtowers. If nothing else, the latter provide a welcome antidote to the Bahraini summer heat. 

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