Manama, Bahrain

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Its intriguing exhibits are housed in an equally fascinating postmodern building, which seems to draw the water of the Persian Gulf right up to its windows. For other architectural and cultural wonders, head to the grand Al Fateh Mosque, Beit Al Quran, or any of the country's well preserved forts. If you love to shop you'll be pleased to hear that Bahrain is home to plenty of gleaming malls, but for a more unique experience stroll around the bustling alleyways of Manama Souq, entered via the historic Bab Al Bahrain building. You'll find everything from clothing and electronics to spices and a separate gold souk. While you're there, duck into a restaurant to sample a local delicacy such as Machboos - a delicious dish of chicken, mutton or fish with fragrant rice.

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