Muharraq is Bahrain's second largest city, and served as its capital until 1923. The Muharraq Town was established by the Sunni Arab tribes in the early nineteenth century. The city is located on Muharraq Island and has long been a centre of religiosity. Bahrain International Airport is located on the island. The city's origins are ancient, going back to the time of Dilmun some 5,000 years ago, but it came to prominence in the historical records during the era of Tylos when Bahrain came under domination of the Selucid Greeks, and Muharraq was the centre of a pagan cult dedicated to the shark god, Awal. The city's inhabitants, who depended upon seafaring and trade for their livelihood, worshipped Awal in the form of a large statue of a shark located in the city.
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