Manama (Arabic: المنامة, transliteration: al-Manāma) is the capital and the largest city in Bahrain with an approximate population of 155,000 people.
Manama has emerged as the capital of independent Bahrain after periods of domination by Portugal and Persia earlier in its history. Today, it is a modern capital with an economy based on the sales promotion industry as crude oil takes a less pronounced role in the economy.
Because of its thriving economy, a Danish firm has proposed a skyscraper that would be over 1 km (3,281 ft) high, called the Murjan Tower. Currently only a concept, if built it would be the world's highest man-made structure, even surpassing the super tall Burj Dubai skyscraper, although it would be shorter than the Nakheel Tower in Dubai if both are built.
The city is located in the far north-eastern corner of Bahrain on a small peninsula. The city obtains a pleasant and a reasonable waterfront. As in the rest of Bahrain, the land is generally flat (or gently rolling) and arid. Manama is served by Bahrain International Airport.
Manama is the focal point of the Bahraini economy. While oil has decreased in importance in recent years due to depleting reserves, petroleum is still the mainstay of the economy, while heavy industry (e.g. aluminum smelting, ship repair), banking and finance, and tourism are increasing in importance. Several multinationals have facilities and offices in and around Manama. The economic base for Manama itself is financial services, with over two hundred financial institutions and banks based in the CBD and the Diplomatic Area. There is also a large retail sector in the shopping malls around Seef, while the center of Manama is dominated by small workshops and traders.
Bahrain is not fully Islamic and Arabic. The country attracts a large number of foreigners and foreign influences, with just under one third of the population hailing from abroad. Alcohol is legal in the country, with bars and nightclubs operating in the city. Football is a popular sport, with three teams from Manama participating in the Bahraini Premier League.
Manama was mentioned in Islamic chronicles at least as far back as 1345. It was conquered by Portugal in 1521 and then by Persia in 1602. Since  it has been under the control of Al-Khalifa dynasty. Manama was declared as a free port in 1958, and in 1971 it became the capital of independent Bahrain.
The north of Bahrain’s main island which is dominated by Manama today has seen human activity for roughly 5,000 years, as is indicated from the remains around Bahrain Fort. The Dilmun Civilizations made this area their capital, burying their dead farther south at the tombs of A'ali. The islanders were soon, however, disturbed by a series of invaders that arrived here by sea, beginning with the Assyrians during the BC period and ending with the Arabs.
During these many centuries Dilmun, as it was first known before its name was changed many times by each new invading power, was a trading post whose importance fluctuated depending on the dominant empire. Manama and its inhabitants first discovered Islam during the 7th century and by the 9th century began to lean to a more conservative almost socialist belief system that caused considerable friction with the surrounding Muslim lands.
The next major foreign intervention in Bahrain came at the beginning of the 1500s when the Portuguese naval fleets arrived, quickly crushing the small local population in Manama and the surrounding areas. Bahrain Fort was built during this era, probably to keep out the Persians who nevertheless managed a series of invasions as the whole island swapped hands between the Portuguese, Persians and Omanis for the proceeding two centuries.
Once the Persians eventually triumphed, it wasn’t long before the appearance of Al Khalifa family from nowhere , or at least from nearby Qatar, to take control of the whole island at the end of the 18th century. The new rulers, whose dynasty continues to this day, sought protection against the Persians from the now dominant, empire-building British as Manama entered a period of colonialism that increased by the time, not least when oil was discovered 30 km (19 mi) south in the centre of the island and first extracted in 1931. After World War II, Bahrain moved slowly towards independence and eventually in 1971, the British pulled out leaving Manama in charge of its own affairs. This was the beginning of a period that has seen its growth and flourish mainly thanks to considerable wealth accumulated through oil production and processing.
By Shimaa Abd El Mageed