Friday, 31 January 2020

Architecture Plan of Bab Al Bahrain from 1945

Double click for larger image.
Reading through the Qatar Digital Library's massive digitised archives of British colonial files, I stumbled upon this architectural plan of a redesign of the customs square of Manama. From an administrative report of Bahrain in 1945, the plan seemingly shows the blueprints of what is today the iconic Bab Al Bahrain landmark, the gateway to the Manama souq.

Planned and approved in 1945, the project would take three years and involve an overhaul of the customs square that included land reclamation between the customs pier and the Hilal building, constructing a passport office on the pier and relocating the import shed.

Perhaps most crucially, the project would see the demolition of the post office and police station, replacing it instead with a large two-storey building. This building would house government offices, the Land department, the King's personal office, and majlises for public occasions. The building iconically would feature a bridge that connects two blocks of the building, with a road passing underneath linking the customs square to the main souq road. The plan also widened the main souq street and facilitated the construction of 9 new and modern shops.

Manama in 1945. Facing westwards, you can see the customs pier and sea road to the right. (QDL)

Bab Al Bahrain, year unknown.


  1. Hey Mohammed, love your posts, keep posting! To add a bit to the final image, the photo was most likely from the mid or late 1980s. Possibly after as Im not sure when the buildings in the background were built. But the reason is that the facade of Bab Al Bahrain here is actually different from the original facade as it was built. The building was renovated in 1980-1982 and the arches on top and on windows were added by an Iraqi architect based in Bahrain.

    1. Hello, thank you for your kind comment and your input regarding the renovations. It does make a lot more sense now especially considering the backdrop (it might be just adjacent to the Yateem centre?). In any case, hopefully there should be images of the original building perhaps from the 1950s that I can put up here.
      Once again, I genuinely appreciate your comment!

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