World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of The Middel East

Bahrain Travelling Guide
Bahrain Travelling Guide

General background: Bahrain's small size and central location among Persian Gulf countries require it to play a delicate balancing act in foreign affairs among its larger neighbors. Possessing minimal oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining, and has transformed itself into an international banking center. The new amir is pushing economic and political reforms, and has worked to improve relations with the Shi'a community. In February 2001, Bahraini voters approved a referendum on the National Action Charter - the centerpiece of the amir's political liberalization program.

Area comparative: 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Climate: Arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers

Terrain: Mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment

Population: 656,397
note: includes 228,424 non-nationals (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Bahraini 63%, Asian 19%, other Arab 10%, Iranian 8%

Religions: Shi'a Muslim 70%, Sunni Muslim 30%

Language: Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu

Government type: Constitutional hereditary monarchy

Capital: Manama

Legal system: Based on Islamic law and English common law

Economic overview: In Bahrain, petroleum production and refining account for about 60% of export receipts, 60% of government revenues, and 30% of GDP. With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Gulf. Bahrain is dependent on Saudi Arabia for oil revenue granted as aid. A large share of exports consists of petroleum products made from refining imported crude. Construction proceeds on several major industrial projects. Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of oil and underground water resources are major long-term economic problems.

Communication/Telephone system: Modern system, modern fiber-optic integrated services; digital network with rapidly growing use of mobile cellular telephones. Tropospheric scatter to Qatar and UAE; microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia; submarine cable to Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean) and 1 Arabsat (1997).

Places of interest:

Travel Tips: Bahrain is considered safe and secure for travellers, who are nonetheless advised, as always, to exercise commonsense and avoid political gatherings and demonstrations.