Bahrain

Introduction

Introduction

Bahrain, officially the Kingdom of Bahrain is a small Arab monarchy in the Persian Gulf. Bahrain consists of a group of islands between the peninsula of Qatar and the north-eastern coast of Saudi Arabia. It is an island country, located near the western shores of the Persian Gulf in the Middle East. It is a small archipelago, concentrated on the island of Bahrain, its largest land mass. It is only 23 km (14 miles) east of Saudi Arabia, connected to it through King Fahd Causeway. The Qatar Peninsula is also nearby, about 50 km (31 mi) southeast through the Bahrain Bay. Iran is located 200 km (124 miles) northward across the Persian Gulf. The population in 2010 was 1 234 567 people, including 666 172 non-citizens. It is 780 km2, making it the third largest country in Asia after the Maldives and Singapore.

Bahrain is the site of the ancient civilization of Dilmun. Since ancient times, it was famous for its pearl craft, which was considered the best in the world in the XIX century. Bahrain was one of the earliest areas to convert to Islam (article 628). After the Arabul period, Bahrain was occupied by the Portuguese in 1521, which, in turn, were expelled in 1602 by Shah Abbas I of the Safavid dynasty under the Persian empire. In 1783, the clan of Bani Utba captured Bahrain from Nasr al-Madkuranda, since then he ruled the royal family of Al-Khalifa, with the first hakim of Ahmed al-Fatehas Bahrain. In the late 1800s, following successive treaties with the British, Bahrain became a protectorate of the United Kingdom. In 1971, Bahrain declared independence. Previously, the state, Bahrain was announced by the Kingdom in 2002. In 2011, there were protests in the country inspired by the regional Arab spring.

In the Persian Gulf, Bahrain had the first post-oil economy. From the end of the 20th century, Bahrain invested in the banking sector and the tourism sector. Many large financial institutions are present in Manama, the capital of the country. Bahrain has a high human development index and was recognized by the World Bank as a high-income economy.


Understand

Bahrain is the smallest of the independent states of the Persian Gulf and often had to conduct a diplomatic tightrope over its larger neighbors. The country has little oil reserves, but has established itself as a refinery center and international banks and achieved a social-liberal monarchy.

Although closer to Qatar, the Hawar Islands are part of Bahrain after a prolonged sovereignty dispute between the two countries.


Tourism

As a tourist destination, Bahrain received more than eight million visitors in 2008, although the exact number varies annually. Most of them come from neighboring Arab countries, although increasingly from outside the region, as a growing awareness of the Kingdom's heritage and that is becoming known by the Bahrain International Circuit F1.

The kingdom combines modern Arab culture and the archaeological heritage of five thousand years of civilization. The island hosts fortresses such as Qalat Al Bahrain, which has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Bahrain National Museum has artifacts from the history of the country, dating back to the first human inhabitants of the island about 9,000 years ago, and the Beit Al Quran (Arabic: بيت القرآن, meaning the house of the Koran) is a museum, Islamic artifacts contain the Koran. Some of the most popular historical tourist attractions in the Kingdom are the Al-Khamis Mosque, which is one of the oldest mosques in the region, the Arad Fort in Muharraq, the Barbar Temple, which is also an ancient temple from the Dilmunite moment of Bahrain as the burial mounds of A'ali and the temple of Saar. Tree of Life, a 400-year-old tree that grows in the Sakhir desert and has no water nearby, is also a popular tourist attraction.

Bird watching (especially on the Hawar Islands), diving and horseback riding are popular tourist activities in Bahrain. Many tourists from nearby Saudi Arabia and the region visit Manama mainly for its shopping centers in the capital, Manama, such as the Bahrain City Center and the Seef shopping center in the Manama district of Seef. The souk of Manama and the gold souk in the old quarter of Manama are also popular with tourists.

Every year, since 2005, Bahrain organizes a festival called "Spring of culture" in March, in which musicians and artists of international renown perform at concerts. Manama was named Arab Capital of Culture 2012 and Capital of Arab Tourism 2013 by the Arab League. The 2012 festival offered concerts with Andrea Bocelli, Julio Iglesias and other musicians.


Geography

Bahrain is a generally flat and dry archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia. It consists of a low desert plain, which gently rises on a low central embankment, with the highest point of 134 m high mountain smoke (Jabal ad Dukhan). Bahrain had a total area of ​​665 km2 (257 square miles), but due to the land reclamation zone it grew to 765 km2 (295 square miles), which is slightly larger than Hamburg or the Isle of Man.

Often described as an archipelago of 33 islands, extensive land reclamation projects have changed this; In August 2008, the number of islands and archipelagos had increased to 84. Bahrain does not share a land border with another country, but has a coastline of 161 km. The country also claims another territorial sea of ​​22 km (12 nm) and a contiguous zone of 44 km (24 nmi). The largest islands of Bahrain are Bahrain, the Hawar Islands, Muharraq, Umm an Nasan and Sitra. Bahrain has mild winters and very hot and humid summers. The country's natural resources include large amounts of oil and natural gas, as well as fish in coastal waters. Farmland represents only 2.82% of the total area.

Although Bahrain is 92% desert with periodic droughts and dust storms, the biggest natural risks for Bahrain are. The environmental problems that Bahrain faces include desertification due to the degradation of limited arable land, coastal damage (damage to coasts, coral reefs and sea vegetation) as a result of oil spills and other large oil discharges, refineries of oil, distribution centers and recovery of illegal land in places like Bay Tubli. The excessive use of the Dammam Aquifer, the main aquifer of Bahrain, by the agricultural and domestic industries has led to salinization by adjacent brackish and salt water bodies. In a hydrochemical study, the locations of groundwater salinity sources were identified and their areas of influence were delimited. The study shows that the water quality of the aquifer is substantially modified as groundwater flows from the northwestern part of Bahrain, where the aquifer is supplied with water through lateral overflow from eastern Saudi Arabia in the south and southeast. Four types of aquifer salinization are identified: brackish water rises from the brackish water areas then in the north-central, western and eastern regions; Penetration of seawater in the eastern region; Sabkha water penetration in the southwest region; and reflux of irrigation in a local area in the western region. Four alternatives for the management of groundwater quality are discussed at the disposal of the water authorities in Bahrain available and priority areas are proposed, based on the nature and extent of any Versalzungsquelle, in addition to the use of groundwater in the zone.

Climate

The Zagros Mountains across the Persian Gulf in Iran are causing low winds towards Bahrain. The dust storms of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, transported by winds from the northwest, locally called Shamalwind, lead to reduced visibility in the months of June and July.

The summers are very hot. The seas around Bahrain are very shallow and warm quickly in the summer to produce high humidity, especially at night. Summer temperatures can reach up to 50 ° C (122 ° F) under the right conditions. The rain in Bahrain is minimal and erratic. Rain usually occurs in winter, with a peak of 71.8 mm (2.83 inches).

Climate data for Manama
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)20.0
(68)
21.2
(70.2)
24.7
(76.5)
29.2
(84.6)
34.1
(93.4)
36.4
(97.5)
37.9
(100.2)
38.0
(100.4)
36.5
(97.7)
33.1
(91.6)
27.8
(82)
22.3
(72.1)
30.1
(86.2)
Average low °C (°F)14.1
(57.4)
14.9
(58.8)
17.8
(64)
21.5
(70.7)
26.0
(78.8)
28.8
(83.8)
30.4
(86.7)
30.5
(86.9)
28.6
(83.5)
25.5
(77.9)
21.2
(70.2)
16.2
(61.2)
23.0
(73.4)
Source: World Meteorological Organisation (UN) 
 

Biodiversity

More than 330 bird species have been recorded in the Bahrain archipelago, of which 26 species breed in the country. Millions of migratory birds migrate through the Persian Gulf during the winter and fall months. An endangered species worldwide, Chlamydotis undulata, is a regular migrant in the fall. The numerous islands and shallow seas of Bahrain are important worldwide for the breeding of the Socotra Cormorant; Up to 100,000 pairs of these birds were recorded in the Hawar Islands.

Only 18 species of mammals are found in Bahrain, animals such as gazelles, rabbits and desert hedgehogs are common in nature, but the Arabian Oryx was threatened with extinction on the island. There were 25 species of amphibians and reptiles, as well as 21 species of butterflies and 307 species of flora. Marine biotopes are diverse and include extensive seagrass meadows and mudflats, mottled coral reefs and islands near the coast. Seagrass beds are important feeding areas for some endangered species, such as dugongs and green turtles. In 2003, Bahrain banned the capture of manatees, sea turtles and dolphins within its territorial waters.

The Sanctuary of the Hawar Islands is an important breeding and nursery of a great variety of marine birds. It is an internationally recognized bird protection site. The breeding colony of Socotra Cormorants in the Hawar Islands is the largest in the world, and the dugong, which is collected in the archipelago, made up of Australia's second largest collection dugong.

Bahrain has five designated protected areas, four of which are marine areas.

They are:

  • Hawar Islands
  • Mashtan Island, off the coast of Bahrain.
  • Arad bay, in Muharraq.
  • Tubli Bay
  • Al Areen Wildlife Park, which is a zoo and a breeding centre for endangered animals, is the only protected area on land and also the only protected area which is managed on a day-to-day basis.

Demographics

In 2010, Bahrain's population grew to 1.2 million, of which 568,399 were Bahrainis and 666,172 foreigners. In 2007, when the population of Bahrain surpassed the million mark, it increased from 1.05 million (517,368 foreign citizens). Although the majority of the population lives in the Middle East, a significant number of people from South Asia live in the country. In 2008, approximately 290,000 Indians lived in Bahrain, making it the largest expatriate community in the country. Bahrain is the fourth most densely populated sovereign state in the world, with a population density of 1,646 people per km2 in 2010. The only sovereign and most densely populated states are city-states. Much of this population is concentrated in the north of the country, with the southern governorate area being the least populated. The north of the country is so urbanized that some consider it a great metropolis.


Ethnic groups

The people of Bahrain are ethnically diverse. The Shia Shia are divided into two ethnic groups: Baharna and Ajam. The majority of Bahá'í Shiites are of the Baharna ethnic group. The Ajam are ethnic Shiite Persians. The Shiite Persians form large communities in Manama and Muharraq. A small minority of Bahraini Shiites are ethnic Hasawis ​​from Al-Hasa.

Bahraini Sunnis are divided mainly into two ethnic groups: Arab (Arabic) and Huwala. The Sunni Arabs are the most influential ethnic group in Bahrain, they have the most governmental positions and the Bahraini monarchy is of Sunni Arabs. Sunni Arabs have traditionally lived in areas such as Zallaq, Muharraq, Riffa and Hawar. The Huwala are descendants of the Sunni Iranians; some of them are Sunni Persians and other Sunni Arabs. There are also Sunnis of Baluchi origin. The majority of Bahraini Africans come from East Africa and have traditionally lived on the island of Muharraq and in Riffa.


Religion

The religion of the state of Bahrain is Islam and the majority of the citizens of Bahrain are Muslims. There are no official figures on the proportion of Shiites and Sunnis among Muslims in Bahrain, but 65-75% of Muslims in Bahrain are Shiites.

Bahrain has a local Christian community. Non-Muslim residents of Bahrain counted 367,683 after the 2010 census, most of whom are Christians. Expat Christians make up the majority of Christians in Bahrain, while Bahraini Christian Christians (who hold Bahraini citizenship) form a smaller community. Alees Samaan, a former Bahraini ambassador to the United Kingdom, is a native Christian. Bahrain also has a native Jewish community that has thirty-seven Bahraini citizens. It is said that the Jewish community of Bahrain has between 36 and 50 people in various sources.

Due to the influx of immigrants and guest workers from South Asian countries, such as India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, the total participation of Muslims has decreased in recent years. According to the 2001 census, 81.2% of Bahrain's population was Muslim, 10% Christian and 9.8% Hindu or other religions. The 2010 census reports that the proportion of Muslims had fallen to 70.2% (the 2010 census did not distinguish between non-Muslim religions). Bahraini government officials have rejected Bahrain's opposition reports that the government is trying to change the country's demographic development by naturalizing Sunni Syrians. Bahá'ís represent about 1% of Bahrain's total population.


Economy

According to a January 2006 report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Bahrain has the fastest growing economy in the Arab world. Bahrain also has the freest economy in the Middle East and is the 12th freest in the world according to the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation / Wall Street Journal.

In 2008, Bahrain was named the fastest growing financial center in the world by the Global Index of Financial Centers in the City of London. Bahrain's banking and financial services sector, particularly Islamic banking, has benefited from the regional boom driven by oil demand. Oil production and processing is the most exported product in Bahrain, accounting for 60% of export earnings, 70% of government revenues and 11% of GDP. Aluminum production is the second most exported product, followed by financing and construction materials.

Economic conditions have fluctuated with the changing prices of oil since 1985, for example during and after the Persian Gulf crisis of 1990-91. With its highly developed communication and transportation facilities, Bahrain is home to several multinational companies and construction is proceeding on several important industrial projects. A large part of the exports consists of petroleum products made from imported crude oil, which accounted for 51% of the country's imports in 2007. Bahrain is highly dependent on food imports to feed its growing population; It depends heavily on Australian meat imports and also imports 75% of your total fruit consumption needs. Since only 2.9% of the country's land is arable, agriculture contributes 0.5% of Bahrain's GDP. In 2004, Bahrain signed the Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Bahrain, which will reduce certain trade barriers between the two nations. Due to the combination of the global financial crisis and the recent unrest, the growth rate decreased to 2.2%, which is the lowest growth rate since 1994.

Unemployment, especially among young people, and the depletion of oil and groundwater resources are the main long-term economic problems. In 2008, the number of unemployed was at 4%, with over-represented women at 85% of the total. In 2007, Bahrain became the first Arab country to institute unemployment benefits as part of a series of labor reforms instigated by the Minister of Labor, Dr. Majeed Al Alawi.

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