The Pearl Monument found at the roundabout that enters Manama is one of the great landmarks that most locals and tourists will distinctly notice while touring around the city. It is one of the most memorable landmarks in Bahrain and is a center of attention for both Bahraini citizens and foreign nationals alike. Situated in the heart of the capital, the monument is the pride and joy of the citizens. It towers above and welcomes newcomers to the city, giving them a gleeful feeling of belonging even in a new and foreign land. Much like the Arc de Triumph in Paris, the monument is placed in a roundabout which is a hub to several major roads, ensuring that anyone driving or commuting around Manama will be able to see it.
The roundabout is strategically located near other key attractions in Manama which includes the Bahrain Central Market and Marina. The monument is not just a roundabout for roads and traffic but also a hub which serves as a gathering point for many of the city’s citizens. It is also a great place for tourists to visit and immerse in the local culture. There are many vendors and small shops that sell little trinket souvenirs that make good gifts for friends and family at home. Although quite limited, some stalls offer a taste of Bahraini cuisine. The centerpiece undoubtedly the monument itself which consists of six Dhow sail shaped supporting structures arranged in a circle supporting a large white pearl at the center.
The six Dhow sails are said to represent the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council which includes Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, The UAE, Jordan Morocco, and Bahrain. The pearl that is projected to the heavens is meant to signify Bahraini’s heritage of pearl diving. Below the towering sails and pearl lies a dodecagonal pool with a fountain. The iconic image is further immortalized by every transaction citizens make with a 500 Fils or half Dinar coins which are stamped with its image. This iconic landmark is a cultural and societal stronghold for which many Bahraini nationals can relate to.
Many gatherings are held in the area as the Pearl Monument is well known as a central plaza for all activities held in the city. It is not uncommon to find foreigners and Bahraini nationals in this area. In fact, the surroundings of the monument can get chaotic at times, just like a marketplace that sprouts out of necessity.
It is quite ironic to think that a major hub that brings people together from all around Bahrain is also the same place that will bring the people to different locations in the city. This is the kind of symbolism that many people of the island nation believes in as the monument helps facilitate better relations between the locals and foreign nationals that migrate to Bahrain seeking work and a new life. Unlike other states in the area, Bahrain is far more liberal in the way that they treat the customs of foreigners within the country. The Pearl Monument is truly an astounding landmark that is a tangible representation of the goals and aspirations of the Bahraini people.