Bahrain's reputation as a modern Arabian Gulf state has made it a favorite with travellers in the region and an excellent introduction to the Gulf.
The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago of low lying island located in the Arabian Gulf of the eastern shore of Saudi Arabia.
total: 620 sq km
land: 620 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Frequently called the Pearl of the Arabian Gulf, Bahrain has a history of more than 5,000 years of civilisation, from the mists of time to a vibrant present under a stable and prosperous government.
Bahrain is the site of immortal Dilmun, religious centre to Summerians, Babylonians and Assyrians, as dramatic excavations prove. Subsequent visitors include Greeks from the time of Alexander the Great, Portuguese, Omani's and the English. Marvellous old sites and buildings compete with modern office buildings and colourful traditional markets.
While relatively small in population, land area and resources Bahrain has achieved a high level of social and economic development in a short period. The road network, international airport, telecommunications, public services, medical facilities and university are all recognised as being among the best in the world. Although great emphasis is naturally placed on the development of its own citizens, due to its large expatriate population Bahrain has a marvelous multi-national mix of nationalities, all living harmonously together in a completely unique mix of cultures.
Bahrain's reputation as a modern Arabian Gulf state has made it a favorite with travellers in the region and an excellent introduction to the Gulf. While their neighbours staked everything on oil, Bahrainis diversified their economy and created some of the region's best education and health systems. Years of British influence have made English widely spoken. Development has been swift, but it hasn't swallowed up everything. Site of one of the oldest civilisations in the world and thought by some to be the site of the Garden of Eden, Bahrain is packed with archaeological digs, historical museums, dhow building yards and back-street souks.
Location: Middle East, archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia
Geographic coordinates: 26 00 N, 50 33 E
Map references: Middle East
Area—comparative: 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 161 km
contiguous zone: 24 nm
continental shelf: extending to boundaries to be determined
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers
Terrain: mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment
lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
highest point: Jabal ad Dukhan 122 m
Natural resources: oil, associated and nonassociated natural gas, fish
arable land: 1%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 6%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 92% (1993 est.)
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography—note: close to primary Middle Eastern petroleum sources; strategic location in Persian Gulf which much of Western world's petroleum must transit to reach open ocean