Bahrain Souqs (Shopping in Bahrain)
Shopping is a great pleasure in Bahrain. You can buy the latest fashions in its modern malls and designer boutiques. But it also have a multitude of local shops that are full of character: in the vibrant souqs, such as Bab Al-Bahrain Souq and Souq Al-Qaisariya, you can see everything from locally colored fabrics, to gold and jewelry, as well as delicious local fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Bahrian also holds various seasonal shopping markets, such as the Farmers Market (every Saturday from December till June), Al-Basta Market (every Friday and Saturday from December till March), and Market 338 (every weekend from December to January).
Bab Al-Bahrain (Bahrain's Gateway) is located at the entrance to the Manama Souq (market) in Bahrain's capital city Manama. Built in 1949, it once housed the government's administrative offices and overlooked the sea. Bab Al-Bahrain has undergone many big changes over the years but the Ministry of Culture undertook a project to preserve it as a cultural landmark and thus restored it to its former glory and eventually moved its tourism sector offices and visitor's center into the building. The visitor's center opens daily from 08:00 to 12:00 and from 16:30 to 18:00, and closes on Fridays (weekends). Sightseeing bus tours depart from here daily at 09:30 and 15:30.
Behind Bab Al-Bahrain is the old Manama Souq. The souq is a vibrant collection of shops offering a wide range of goods from textiles, spices, incense, perfumes, handicrafts and souvenirs, as well as more modern products from all over the World. There are also a number of traditional coffee shops.
The souq offers a unique shopping experience that brings to mind the style of commerce from days long past. The Manama Souq is a must visit while in Bahrain that visitors will be sure to enjoy.
Smaller than Manama Souq, Al-Muharraq Souq offers a wide range of merchandise and famed sweet shops. The oldest section of the souq, Al-Qaisariya, offers a charming shopping experience. Al-Qaisariya Souq is an integral component of the "Pearling, testimony of an Island Economy" (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Al-Qaisariya Souq is one of the oldest sections of the Muharraq Souq and offers a charming shopping experience that every visitor and resident of Bahrain should enjoy. Currently undergoing extensive restoration work by the Ministry of Culture, the first phase of the project (which has been completed) features a number of renovated shops selling a variety of products ranging from pearls to spices and tea, as well as a traditional café - Zaafaran café - arranged around a number of historic madbassahs.
Since antiquity, Bahrain has been famed for its natural pearls, which were highly sought after for their unique color and luster (the result of forming at the confluence between fresh underwater springs and the salty sea). Cultured pearls are banned in Bahrain and every pearl purchased locally comes with a certificate of authenticity.
Al-Qaisariya Souq is an integral component of the "Pearling, Testimony of an Island" project. This Pearling Path is approximately 3.2 kilometers long and describes the unique story of pearling in Bahrain and its physical testimony. Designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage listing in 2012, this path can be traversed in order to discover and experience the different elements of the overall narrative.