The Kingdom of Bahrain is a small island country situated on the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It borders Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar. Bahrain was one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam in 628 AD, after which it underwent periods of Arab, Portuguese, Persian and British rule, before declaring independence in 1971. 

More recently, in accordance with the regional Arab Spring, the country has experienced sustained protests and unrest, particularly among the majority Shia population. Having said that, Bahrain is known for social liberalism relative to the other Muslim countries in the region. Among tourists it is popular for its authentic ‘Arabness’ without the strict application of Islamic law upon its non-Muslim minority. 

Bahrain’s economy although largely petroleum based, is also the first post-oil economy in the Persian Gulf, moving into the banking and tourism sectors. Its more relaxed atmosphere also make it a social hub, helping the kingdom develop a fairly cosmopolitan middle class, not often found in neighbouring countries wherein the norm is a rich elite with subsistence level majority. 

The official language of Bahrain is Arabic, although English and Persian (Farsi) are widely spoken. Bahrain has a tropical desert climate, with very hot muggy summers. Spring and Autumn are very pleasant with dry, hot weather and cool nights. Dust-storms are common in late-winter and spring, and whilst they are less severe than other locations around the Gulf, they are still unpleasant. 

Bahrain’s main tourist sites include its capital city, Manama, home to many large financial structures and modern architecture which contrasts with the country’s many forts dating back to the pre-Islamic and early-Islamic periods. There are also numerous prehistoric burial grounds to be explored in Bahrain including A’ali (the world’s biggest prehistoric cemetery).



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