|STATE STRUCTURE||A constitutional monarchy|
|INTERNAL DIVISION||Bahrain is divided into 4 governorates.|
|NATIONAL COMPOSITION||Bahrainis (54.5%), Persians (13.1%), Arabs (9.8%), Pakistanis (4.6%)|
|TIMEZONE||UTC +3 / MSK +0|
The five white triangles on the flag of Bahrain represent the five pillars of Islam – shahada, prayer, uraza, zakat and hajj, and the red color is the symbol of the Kharijites (Islamic group).
The coat of arms of Bahrain repeats the design of the national flag.
According to Franciscogardening.com, Bahrain is located on the archipelago of the same name in the Persian Gulf in Southwest Asia. It occupies 33 islands and is the smallest Arab state. The largest and most diverse island in terms of landscape is called Bahrain. On it there are small mountains, 100-130 meters high, and on the rest, almost all, there is a flat relief. Sand dunes predominate on the northwest coast, bare steppes and swamps on the west, and a rocky ridge in the northeast.
There is not a single river on the territory of the state, and most of the islands are covered with sand. In the coastal and central zones of the large islands, the springs of underground fresh waters beat – the most valuable natural resource of Bahrain, necessary for farming.
The arid tropical climate is characterized by “cool” winters with a temperature of +20°C and hot summers – below 40°C. In winter, it rains a couple of times a month in Bahrain, and the annual rainfall does not exceed 90 millimeters. Despite the low amount of precipitation, there is an increased humidity in the atmosphere.
Due to high temperatures and the lack of natural water bodies, nature in Bahrain is not very diverse. These are mainly deserts, which are becoming more and more due to the degradation of cultivated lands. In places where groundwater occurs, there are oases where grapes, dates and pistachios grow. There are few fertile lands, they huddle in the north, they grow bananas, citrus fruits, mangoes, pomegranates, tomatoes and cucumbers. Vegetation is not rich, mainly camel thorn, astragalus and tamarisk.
Several species of reptiles, rodents and birds live on the islands. But coastal waters abound with a huge number of fish. The coral reefs are home to lobsters, turtles and pearl clams.
The settlement of the sandy plains of the state began from the III millennium BC. Located at the crossroads of trade routes, the kingdom was widely known both in the East and in the West. Then followed years of economic decline – Bahrain was conquered by powerful powers. In the 9th century AD, a new flourishing began – trade with India revived, and pearl mining brought fame and wealth to the country. From 1487, Bahrain was under the rule of the Omani tribes, then the Portuguese, the Arabs, and in 1861 the government of the country voluntarily transferred control of foreign affairs to the British in exchange for security. The islands gained independence on August 15, 1971.
Interesting fact: In memory of England, in addition to the language, taxi cabs have been preserved here.
The centuries-old traditions of Bahrain are strongly influenced by Muslim culture, but, unlike neighboring countries, religious rules here are not so harsh. Women wear less formal clothing, and alcohol is freely sold in stores. True, it is not accepted to use it openly. Bahrainis are very fond of coffee, and not a single reception is complete without this drink. The ceremony consists of three parts: preparation, “relaxation”, during which the guests exchange news, and the actual tasting. A special place is occupied by family and wedding traditions. Wedding celebrations are held separately for men and women.
After independence, fine arts, music and literature flourished in Bahrain. One of the most popular are the songs of pearl divers – this is a special genre. The style of these songs has gained its uniqueness under the influence of Persian and Indian cultures, it does not change and is passed down from generation to generation. Literature and art are moving away from Arab traditions, they are increasingly traced to Western features. In 1983, the Bahrain Arts Society was founded, which regularly organizes exhibitions and courses where everyone can learn Arabic calligraphy.
Education in Bahrain is divided into several levels. Primary school is compulsory, followed by secondary school, after which you can go to college. British and American schools operate on the territory of the state, the program in them is the same, and the training lasts 12 years. The first private university appeared in Manama, and a little later a college was built in the Saar. According to Islamic traditions, a woman should be a housewife, her education is not welcome. However, in order to respect tradition, but still keep pace with progress, a private Royal University for Women was built in Bahrain.
The country is famous not only for its reserves of “black gold”, but also for its developed motorsport – it was here that the legendary “Formula 1” was born. The first supercar competition took place on April 4, 2004. Since then, the country has hosted the World Cup stages 11 times. The country promotes a healthy lifestyle, in particular the game of football. Bahrain is represented at every Summer Olympic Games, in 2016 its athlete Ruth Jebet won the gold medal. The country does not participate in the Winter Olympics.
The country is gaining popularity among tourists. Snow-white beaches, modern hotels and warm weather offer holidays all year round. The capital and resort areas are developing rapidly. The world’s first high-rise building with built-in wind turbines was built in Manama. Fans of water entertainment are offered to dive into the depths of the Persian Gulf for pearls, and those who are interested in the history of the country are offered to see historical sights. Many seek to see the Tree of Life, which has been growing in the middle of the desert for 400 years. The natural miracle is associated with legends, according to one of which the tree was left from the gardens of Eden.
Interesting fact: In Bahrain, two sites are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. These are the fortress of Kalat al-Bahrain and the monuments in Muharraq.
The main resort areas are located in Manama and its environs. In the city center there is one of the most popular beaches – Corniche, where not only tourists, but also locals sunbathe. The beaches of the Sitra lagoon belong to hotels, and only their guests rest here. Armed guards are responsible for the safety of tourists.
People go to the Hawar archipelago for diving – there are good diving schools on the islands, training in which is available to anyone.
Due to the high level of healthcare in Bahrain, medical tourism is developed. Manama clinics treat serious diseases and offer rare medicines. In 2007, the largest spa center in the country, The Diplomat Spa, was opened on the territory of one of the hotels. Medicine in Bahrain is famous not only for the high quality of services, but also for low prices by European standards.
Since shopping has long been a part of tourism programs, it is worth noting that the best souvenirs await guests of Bahrain at the market in the Manama quarter of Bab al-Bahrain. Bright oriental outfits, scarves, spices and even Aladdin’s lamps are in stock. The most beautiful jewelry is sold at the Gold Bazaar. Bargaining is appropriate in all stores and shops – sellers will reduce the price. For the local population, bargaining is a special art.
Every major shopping center has local restaurants. Traditional Bahraini cuisine uses fish, meat, dairy products, cheese, rice, and dates. Cooks do not spare spices, and rice and vegetables serve as the basis of dishes. Gourmets who have visited Bahrain are advised to try tikka – a shish kebab of marinated meat with spices. The date occupies a special place in the local diet – it is grown in local oases.
Despite Muslim prohibitions, the country will entertain any tourist. There are even nightclubs here, however, a woman will enter there only accompanied by a man. Thanks to the “light” morals, many residents of the United Arab Emirates come to Manama for the weekend. If the trip is family, they go to the dolphinarium on the territory of the Marina Garden park or walk by the lake on the island of Muharraq.
For every holiday in Bahrain, colorful performances and celebrations are held. In addition to religious events, secular events are also held several times a year. These are, first of all, the Formula 1 and Desert Challenge races at the end of January and the Arab Jewelry Exhibition in the last days of November.