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Bahrain

Bahrain, the melting pot of the Arabian Gulf, first entered recorded history 5,000 years ago when the Ancient Sumerians – founders of the first great civilization of the Middle East – called it Dilmun, the Sacred Land of Life. It was considered to be an island paradise where disease, suffering and death would have no affect on people.

Bahrain is an archipelago of 36 islands in the Gulf of Salwa at the heart of the Arabian Gulf. The islands only cover a total land area of 706 square kilometers but their position and the springs that made the islands an oasis, enabled Bahrain to be one of the most important trade depots between the Indus Valley, Mesopotamia and the Arabian Peninsula.

The name "Bahrain" literally translates to "two seas" and refers to the natural springs of fresh water that rise up from beneath the salty sea and are used by the famous Bahraini pearl divers. Dhow making, pottery, basket weaving and a host of local crafts point to the presence of a rich local culture which still preserves distinct structures and thousands of burial mounds. There is even evidence that Bahrain was once known as "the island of a million palm trees". Today, Bahrain still contains a number of interesting archeological sites, museums, handicraft centers and historical sites.

What distinguishes Bahrain from other island destinations is the blending of the ancient and the modern. Awe inspiring mosques and breathtaking Islamic architecture rub shoulders with innovative, modern skyscrapers. Colorful Islamic souqs give way to state of the art, air conditioned malls filled with all of the products and amenities of the modern world.

The Formula One Grand Prix has given Bahrain an international attraction. Each year thousands of visitors flock to witness this major sporting event. This colorful event is not the only source of local tourism. The King Fahd Causeway, a four lane highway that opened in 1986 has become a major gateway from the Arabian Peninsula.

Bahrain Quick Facts

Official Name
Kingdom of Bahrain

Head of State
His Majesty, King Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa

Capital
Manama

Area
711.9 km2

Location
East coast of Saudi Arabia at a of latitude of 26° north

Geography
An archipelago made up of 36 islands in the heart of the Arabian Gulf. Bahrain is the largest island and Muharraq is the second largest.

Population
Over 700,000

Currency
Bahraini Dinar (US $1= BD 0.375)

Time Zone
GMT+3, there is no daylight savings time

Language
Arabic
English is also widely spoken
Religion
Islam

Climate
Bahrain has hot and humid summers, and mild winters.
June – September: 36°c – 45°c
December – March: 15°c – 24°c

Visa
www.evisa.gov.bh

Weekends
Friday and Saturday

National Day
December 16

Below are some of the must see places in Bahrain:

  • Bait Al-Quran

  • Al-Fateh Mosque

  • Bahrain National Museum

  • Bahrain Fort (on UNESCO list)

  • Manama traditional Souq

  • Bahrain International Formula 1 Circuit

  • Tree of life

  • King Fahd Causeway

  • Al-Areen Wild Life Park

  • Al-Jassra Crafts Center