Bahrain, officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, is a sovereign island
nation in the Persian Gulf. Bahrain is located on a small
archipelago consisting of 51 natural and 33 artificial islands,
centered around the island of Bahrain, which makes up about 83% of
the country's territory. The country is located between the Qatar
Peninsula and the northeast coast of Saudi Arabia, to which it is
connected by the 25-kilometre (16-mile) King Fahd Bridge. According
to the 2010 census, Bahrain has a population of over 1.2 million, of
which about half are non-citizens. Covering 780 square kilometers
(300 sq mi), it is the third smallest country in Asia by area after
the Maldives and Singapore. The capital and largest city is Manama.
Bahrain is the site of the ancient country of Dilmun. It has been known since ancient times for its pearl fishing, which until the 19th century was considered the best in the world. Bahrain was one of the first regions to adopt Islam, during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad in 628 AD. After a period of Arab rule, Bahrain was under the rule of the Portuguese Empire from 1521 to 1602, and after the conquest by Shah Abbas I of the Safavid dynasty, the island came under the rule of the Persian Empire. In 1783, the Utub clan took Bahrain from Nasr al-Madhkur (Eng.), and since then it has been ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family, with Ahmed al Fateh as the first Hakim (Eng.) of Bahrain.
In the late 1800s, after the conclusion of treaties with Britain, Bahrain became a protectorate of the United Kingdom. In 1971, he declared independence. The former emirate of Bahrain was declared an Islamic constitutional monarchy in 2002.
In 2011, protests took place in the country, inspired by the regional Arab Spring. Bahrain's ruling royal family, the al-Khalifa, has been criticized for violating human rights against various groups, including dissidents, political opposition figures and the majority Shia Muslim population.
Bahrain has developed the first post-oil economy in the Persian Gulf as a result of decades of investment in the banking and tourism sectors; many of the largest financial institutions in the world are located in the nation's capital. Bahrain has a very high Human Development Index and is recognized as a high income country by the World Bank. It is a member of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The kingdom hosts the main operating base of the US Fifth Fleet in Juffair, near Manama.
Bahrain is the island of the largest prehistoric burial sites in the
world. Thousands of burial mounds stretch over 30 km² along the streets
between the individual districts. The number is estimated at 170,000.
The burial tombs found in al-A'ali are called royal tombs. Their size is impressive, some 40 m in diameter and 24 m high.
The old town houses of Muharraq are among the oldest in the country: the house of the pearl merchant, Bait as-Siyadi, the former ruling house, Bait Isa bin Ali.
The Al Jasra House shows a very authentic picture of the rooms and what a simple home used to look like.
The Arad Fort was built at the end of the 15th century and in the dhow shipyard you can look over the shoulders of the boat builders.
Qal'at al-Bahrain (Bahrain Fort Archaeological Site) has been the most important excavation site since the 1950s. Temples have been uncovered here that are believed to date from the Dilmun period, the 2nd millennium BC. BC. The Barbarian Temple, Diraz Temple and Sar Temple are located at the northern end of the island.
Since 1976, attempts have been made to preserve almost extinct animals and plants in the al-ʿAreen reserve. There is also a small zoo to visit. There are also bus tours to various enclosures.
The Tree of Life, Shajarat al-Haya, in the south of the country, is a huge mesquite tree from which no one knows where it gets its water.
In Janabiyya there is a huge camel farm that can only be visited by western tourists.
The Formula 1 track in Sakhir, the Bahrain International Circuit, can be visited on some days of the week.
Families from neighboring countries and also the locals like to visit the shopping centers in Seef, the visiting men prefer the entertainment districts in Hoora and Juffair, where they can get alcohol, drugs and all kinds of sex for money. The activities are slightly covert and there are rarely raids and punishments.
In the south near the Formula 1 track there is a small zoo, the Al Areen Wildlife Park. Near the wildlife park there is a large water park, the 'Lost Paradise of Dilmun'. There are smaller parks everywhere in Bahrain, including a small botanical garden in Budaya.
While Manama is a financial center in the Diplomatic Area and in Seef
with glass towers and high-rises, there are also traditional, oriental
districts with wind towers.
The souk, accessible through the Bahrain Gate (Bab al-Bahrain), with its Golden Road running through it, was previously located directly on the coast, but as land was gained, houses and squares moved further and further away from the water. The souk is also home to a large Hindu temple. There are also some merchants' houses in the area, whose decorations show the former wealth of their owners.
Manama was the Cultural Capital of the Arab World in 2012.
One of the largest museums in the Gulf region is the National Museum
in the north of Manama, which conveys culture and history.
The Heritage Center, a building from 1937 that once housed the State Court of Justice, has existed as a museum of tradition since 1948.
The House of the Quran, Bait al-Qur'ān, is a Quran museum. Unusual copies of the work, such as the smallest, the oldest or the first Koran printed in Germany, are also presented there.
A few streets further is the Coin Museum with 250 coins made of gold, silver and bronze.
The Sunni Ahmed al-Fatih Mosque, the largest mosque in the country
with space for 7,000 believers, is located in the Juffair district.
The al-Khamīs Mosque from the 8th century is an example of earlier architecture.
There are many shopping centers in Bahrain. The most popular and largest are Bahrain City Center, Al 'Ali Mall and Seef Mall - all on one street in Seef. These malls, like all malls, are dominated by western brands, but also have Arabic items such as: B. Abaya or Jalabiya. The Moda Mall in the Bahrain World Trade Center is more for exclusive brands. In recent years, the number of malls has increased significantly and countless new malls have been added. The only place that seems worth mentioning is The Avenues, a mall opposite the Four Seasons Hotel right on the sea. You can sit outside and take a walk. The offering is very similar in all malls.
Will probably only be practicable from Europe by plane.
Visas are easily available at the
airport for EU nationals, Liechtensteiners and Swiss citizens. You pay
the visa fee directly at the passport control. Single entry up to 14
days costs 5 BD, 30 days 25 BD, multiple entry max. 90 days/year 80 BD.
Cash and major credit cards (e.g. Visa in April 2017) are accepted.
Anyone arriving from another Arab country should consider exchanging
some Bahraini dinars there. If you don't want to stand in line, you can
apply for an eVisa in advance.
Consular section of the Embassy of Bahrain, Klingelhöfer Straße 7, 10785 Berlin. Phone: +49 30 868 777 99.
In Switzerland there is a consulate général du Royaume de Bahreïn, av. Louis-Casaï 84, 1216 Cointrin. Email: Geneva.firstname.lastname@example.org. which reports to the Embassy in Paris.
Bahrain International Airport (مطار البحرين الدولي, IATA: BAH) Many international airlines fly to Bahrain Airport, including Lufthansa and Gulf Airways. Turkish Airlines (THY) also offers fast connections from Germany and Switzerland with a change in Istanbul.
There are no rail connections in or to Bahrain.
The bus company SABTCO offers bus connections from Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia visa holders can travel to Saudi Arabia via the bridge link. The only land connection to Bahrain leads to Saudi Arabia to the city of Khobar via the 25 km long King Fahd Causeway
to Jasra. The Causeway is a toll roadway and bridge combination, with Passport Island about halfway along. You should pay attention to the special regulations and socio-cultural peculiarities of the neighboring country.
The Persian Valfajr 8 Shipping Co. operates a ferry to Busher.
Cruise ships dock at the new Khalifa Bin Salman Port, located on a reclaimed area in the southeast of Muharraq Island. The port area may only be crossed or left with a shuttle.
Bahrain is the dual form of the Arab. اَلْبَحرْ bahr ("sea"), so
al-Bahrain means "two seas". However, the name has been lexicalized as a
feminine noun and does not follow the grammatical rules for duals; thus
its form is always Bahrain and never Bahrān, the expected nominative
form. Endings are added to the word without change, as in the title of
the national anthem Bahrainunā ("our Bahrain") or the demonym Bahrainī.
The medieval grammarian al-Jawhari commented on this saying that the
formally more correct term Bahrī (lit. "belonging to the sea") would
have been misunderstood and therefore not used.
It remains a matter of dispute to which "two seas" the name Bahrain originally refers. The term occurs five times in the Qur'an, but does not refer to the modern island originally known to the Arabs as Awal, but rather to the whole of Eastern Arabia (primarily el Qatif and el Hasa).
Today, Bahrain's "two seas" usually refer to the bays to the east and west of the island, the seas to the north and south of the island, or the salt and fresh water present above and below ground. In addition to wells, there are areas of the sea north of Bahrain where, since ancient times, fresh water has been observed bubbling in the middle of salt water. An alternative theory of Bahrain's toponymy is proposed by the al-Ahsa region, which suggests that the two seas were the Great Green Ocean (Persian Gulf) and a lake on the Arabian mainland.
Until the late Middle Ages, the name "Bahrain" referred to the region of Eastern Arabia, which included southern Iraq, Kuwait, Al-Hasa, Qatif and Bahrain. This region stretched from Basra in Iraq to the Strait of Hormuz in Oman. This was the "Province of Bahrain" by Iqlīm al-Bahrain. The exact date when the term "Bahrain" began to refer exclusively to the Awal archipelago is unknown. The entire coastal strip of Eastern Arabia has been known as "Bahrain" for millennia.
The value of the local Bahraini dinar is (July 2020):
1 dollar = 0.3759 BD or 1 BD = 2.66 US$
1 euro = 0.443 BD or 1 BD = 2.22€
There are accommodations in Bahrain primarily for those with heavier wallets. Cheap hotels can be found near the souk in Manama. Beach hotels are all in the 5-star range. It's best to book accommodation locally and you should always ask about discounts there. On the weekend, i.e. H. On Thursday and Friday the hotels are very busy with tourists from Saudi Arabia. The prices then rise slightly.
Smoking is prohibited in publicly accessible areas, including hotels. The use of chewing tobacco is also not permitted. Smoking in the car is not permitted if children are in the vehicle.
The GSM mobile network is covered by two operators: Bahrain
Telecommunications Company (BATELCO) and MTC Vodafone (Bahrain) B.S.C..
Prepaid cards are offered for both networks. Further information about
network coverage and roaming partners can be found at GSM-World.
For longer stays or desert tours, we recommend a satellite phone from Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Co. Devices can be rented in almost all European countries.
On the territory of Bahrain was Dilmun, an
important trading center of the Bronze Age, connecting Mesopotamia
and the Indus Valley. Bahrain was later ruled by the Assyrians and
From the sixth to the third century BC, Bahrain was part of the Achaemenid Empire. By about 250 BC. Parthia took control of the Persian Gulf and extended its influence as far as Oman. The Parthians established garrisons along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf to control trade routes.
In antiquity, Bahrain was called by the ancient Greeks Tylos (Τύλος), the center of the pearl trade, when the Greek admiral Nearchus, who served under Alexander the Great, landed in Bahrain. It is believed that Nearchus was the first of Alexander's generals to visit the island; discovering a green land that was part of a large trade network, he wrote: “on the island of Tylos, located in the Persian Gulf, there are large plantations of cotton trees from which clothes are produced, called sindones, varying greatly in value, one of which is expensive, the other is less expensive. The use of this garment is not limited to India, but extends to Arabia." The Greek historian Theophrastus claimed that much of Bahrain was covered with these cotton trees and that Bahrain was famous for exporting canes engraved with emblems, which were commonly worn in Babylon.
Alexander planned to settle Greek colonists in Bahrain, and although it is unclear if this happened on the scale he envisioned, Bahrain became largely part of the Hellenized world: Greek was the language of the upper classes (although Aramaic was in everyday use), and Zeus was worshiped in form of the Arabian sun god Shams. Bahrain has even become the venue for Greek sports competitions.
The Greek historian Strabo believed that the Phoenicians originated in Bahrain. Herodotus also believed that Bahrain was the birthplace of the Phoenicians. This theory was supported by the 19th century German classic Arnold Heeren, who said that: "Among the Greek geographers, for example, we read of two islands called Tyrus or Tylos and Arad, which boasted that they were the birthplace of the Phoenicians and exhibited the relics of the Phoenician temples ".
In the III millennium BC a developed civilization was spread on the territory of the country, which was characterized by fortified settlements. The ancient state, called Dilmun, was a major center of maritime trade, through which the Sumerians and other peoples of Mesopotamia were connected with the peoples of the Indus Valley.
IV-VI centuries - part of the Sassanid state, then - the Arab Caliphate.
IX-XI centuries - the center of the Karmatian state.
The middle of the XIII century - gains independence, but soon becomes part of the emirate of Hormuz.
1521-1602 - possession of Portugal.
XVII-XVIII centuries - part of the Safavid Iran.
1780s - Independence is declared again.
19th century - British invade Bahrain.
1871 - Great Britain establishes a protectorate over Bahrain, but in fact it is turned into a colony.
World War I - A major British military base is established. The Iranian government considers Bahrain to be illegally occupied Iranian territory.
World War II - The British government deploys large contingents of troops to Bahrain. Since 1946, Manama has been the residence of the head of the British administration in the Persian Gulf region.
1968 - together with Qatar and Trucial Oman, announces the creation of the Federation of Arab Principalities of the Persian Gulf.
August 14, 1971 - Independence granted.
1975 - Parliament dissolved.
1990s - Unrest in Bahrain leading to democratic reforms.
February 14, 2011 - mass riots began in the country, caused by revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. New mass protests began at the end of 2012.
It has diplomatic relations with the Russian Federation (established with the USSR on September 29, 1990).
Necropolis of the blessed
Since ancient times, the island has been famous for the beauty and quality of local pearls, attributed to the special properties of coastal waters. The process of growth of Bahraini pearls took place in unique conditions of mixing salt and fresh waters. An unusual natural phenomenon discovered by divers - the exit from the seabed of the Persian Gulf of natural fresh water sources - is reflected in the name of the island as "the confluence of two seas" (majmu 'u-l-Bahrain, bahr - from the Arabic "sea", ein - in Arabic means doubling the word to which it is added), and in mythology. The place of residence of the Ugarit god Ilu was "the mouth of two rivers". One of the main Sumerian gods Enki, the god of wisdom and ground and underground waters, was depicted as a royal man, from whose shoulders two streams of water with fish swimming in them fell.
The texts found by archaeologists and deciphered prove that the island of Bahrain was revered by the ancient inhabitants of Sumer as a sacred place "where the souls of the dead taste the afterlife bliss", and the right to be buried there "could be considered one of the greatest rewards for devotion to the gods throughout life."
M. B. Piotrovsky wrote: “The mystical significance of Bahrain as a place with special connections with eternity was expressed, in particular, in its special attractiveness as a burial place.”
A monument of the religious and historical heritage of Bahrain are the preserved ancient necropolises, occupying vast spaces in the northern part of the island. The emergence of their researchers attributed to the turn of the fourth and third millennia BC. The number of burials, including nobles and warriors from all over Sumer, numbered in the hundreds of thousands. According to researchers, sometimes the tombs were ordered in advance and some of them remained empty. The mounds vary in size. The earliest of them were oval in shape, about 1.5 m high. Niches for burial items were arranged in the stone chamber. In the "elite" tombs, two burial chambers, one above the other, lined with stone, were arranged. The whole building was surrounded by a stone wall. The space between the wall and the cells and on top of them was filled with rubble. The height of such mounds reached 15 meters. The tradition of burials in Bahrain survived until the Hellenistic era. The last of them date back to the first centuries AD. Part of the burials was lost not only due to natural erosion, but also in connection with the beginning in the 1950s of the development of free territories for the development of urban settlements.
The main island of Bahrain (620 km²) has an elongated shape of 49
km×18 km. It is a 30 to 60 m high limestone plateau and is predominantly
covered by sand dunes. The island has been connected to Saudi Arabia
since 1986 via the King Fahd Causeway, a 25 km long bridge. In the
center rises the 135 m high Jabal ad-Duchan. In the south and southwest
there are sandy areas and salt marshes. Only the northern coastal area
is usable for agriculture thanks to artesian wells and karst springs.
Other large islands include al-Muharraq, Sitra, Amwaj, Hawar and Umm
Nasan. They are mostly rocky and barely rise above sea level.
The capital Manama is in the northeast with around 158,000 inhabitants. To the east is the deep-water port of Mina Salman, which is visited by both the Bahraini armed forces and cruise ships.
Extensive landfilling has begun in many parts of Bahrain since the beginning of the 21st century. The total area of all offshore islands, peninsulas, new bays, etc. now amounts to around 30 km², of which only a small part has been built on. The aim is – analogous to the artificial areas in Dubai and Abu Dhabi – to obtain water-flooded plots in order to build on them. Due to the real estate crisis of 2009, many construction projects have now come to a standstill, such as: B. the three Twisted Towers near Seef or the eleven Marina West high-rises in Budaiya. The high-rise buildings are in shell construction. Many investors – including Western ones – lost their money.
Bahrain has a warm, humid subtropical climate with high humidity. A hot, humid wind blows predominantly from the northwest (Shamal), and sometimes there is also a dry, hot southerly wind (Qaus) from the Rub al-Khali desert (German: Great Arabian Desert). The average monthly temperatures are between 17 °C (January) and 33.5 °C (July), and rainfall is only 70 mm. Bahrain has high levels of particulate matter.
The Shajarat al-Haya (Arabic شجرة الحياة, DMG šaǧarat al-ḥayāh 'Tree
of Life'), a 400-year-old mesquite tree of the species Prosopis
cineraria (Khejri tree), which is considered a natural wonder
Apart from the agricultural zone, desert vegetation predominates on the main island. The species-poor fauna consists mainly of lizards, gerbils and mongooses. Gazelles and hares are almost extinct. The Al-Aree Wildlife Park and Reserve serves to protect various groups of animals and has been able to successfully reintroduce endangered antelope species such as the goitered gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa, English Arabian sand gazelle). Bahrain's forest cover has the largest percentage increase in the world, increasing by 14.9% between 1990 and 2000. Famous is the Shajarat al-Haya (Tree of Life), a centuries-old large tree in the desert, which is considered a natural wonder.
Bahrain signed the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1996, but not the Nagoya Protocol, which regulates the fair sharing of benefits between rich and poor states in the field of nature conservation (Access & Benefit Sharing).
Bahrain had a population of 1.7 million in 2020. The annual
population growth was +3.6%. The median age of the population was 32.5
years in 2020. The number of births per woman was statistically 1.9 in
2020. The life expectancy of Bahraini residents from birth was 77.4
years in 2020 (women: 78.6, men: 76.6).
Of the 1.3 million inhabitants of the island nation in 2013, 614,830 were residents and 638,361 were foreign immigrants (2013 census). According to the LMRA (Labor Market Regulatory Authority), there were 371,183 foreigners in employment in March 2012. In 2017, 48.4% of the population were migrants.
Indians lead with 192,500 people, followed by 71,915 Bangladeshis, 32,443 Pakistanis, 21,661 Filipinos, 16,294 Nepalese, 6,470 Egyptians and 5,254 Ceylonese. In addition, Bidun, stateless people of Arab origin, can also be found. Bidun status is inherited and results in significant social discrimination. In the private sector, 351,314 foreigners, 329,165 men and 22,149 women, were employed. In the first quarter of 2011, 453,661 foreigners were still employed in Bahrain. The foreign workers had 82,000 dependents, 33,801 spouses and 49,026 children.
In 2020, 90% of Bahrain's residents lived in cities. The largest cities in Bahrain are (as of January 1, 2011): Manama (158,000 inhabitants), ar-Rifāʿ al-gharbī (117,000 inhabitants), al-Muharraq (109,000 inhabitants), Madīnat Hamad (85,000 inhabitants), ʿĀlī (66,000 inhabitants) , Sitra (42,000 inhabitants), Madinat Isa (41,000 inhabitants), al-Budayyiʿ (38,000 inhabitants), Jidhafs (35,000 inhabitants), al-Mālikīya (16,000 inhabitants) and al-Hidd (15,000 inhabitants).
The official language is Arabic, while English is widely used as an educational and commercial language. Other languages include Persian and Urdu.
Islam, to which 70.2% of the total population (including foreign
nationals; as of the 2011 census) adhere, is the state religion. The
majority of Bahraini citizens are - unlike in the neighboring Arab
states, but just like in the neighboring Saudi eastern province of
Ash-Sharqiyya - Shiite. The ruling family itself is Sunni.
The 2001 census showed that 9% of the total population were Christians and 9.8% were followers of other faiths, especially Hinduism. There are around 90,000 Catholics living in Bahrain. Together with Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain forms the Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Arabia of the Catholic Church. The 2011 census only recorded the proportion of non-Muslims, without distinguishing between individual non-Islamic religions and atheists. A small community of around 30 Jews still lives in Bahrain and it is the only Arab country in the Persian Gulf with a synagogue for the Jewish community.
According to the constitution, last amended in 2012, Bahrain is a
constitutional monarchy. Islam is the state religion. The king appoints
and dismisses the government and also has the right to dissolve the
House of Representatives and call for new elections. All Bahrainis aged
18 and over are eligible to vote. Since 2002, Bahrain has had a
two-chamber parliamentary system, consisting of the Shura Council
(Consultative Assembly, Upper House), whose forty members are directly
appointed by the King, and the elected Parliament (Lower House), also
with 40 representatives.
In 1999, women were given the right to stand for election at the local level. In 2001, women also voted in the referendum on the new constitution. This confirmed women's rights and came into force in 2002. On October 23, 2002, women in Bahrain voted for the first time in parliamentary elections.
In the 2010 general elections, the largest Shiite political association Al Wefaq was able to assert itself as the strongest political force (and opposition) with 18 out of 40 seats in the House of Representatives, but resigned from its mandate after the unrest in spring 2011. The opposition association Al Wefaq also boycotted the parliamentary elections at the end of November 2014. She was opposed to dialogue with the elected parliament. On July 17, 2016, Al Wefaq was dissolved by order of the High Civil Court and the party's assets were confiscated. The dissolution was justified, among other things, by supporting terrorist groups, using religion for political purposes and calling for foreign interference in Bahrain's internal affairs.
The parliament is divided into a House of Representatives (Majlis
an-Nuwwab), whose 40 members are elected every four years, and a Council
Assembly (Majlis al-Shura), whose 40 members are also appointed by the
king. (two-chamber system)
According to the constitution, Sharia is one of the main sources of legislation. The judiciary is independent. Hindus and Christians are subject to modified British jurisdiction.
In the elections to the House of Representatives on October 24 and 31, 2002, the list of Islamic communities won 19 seats, independent candidates 18 and liberals three seats. In the parliamentary elections on November 25, 2006, a woman, Latifa al-Qaʿud, entered parliament for the first time. There were parliamentary elections on October 23, 2010.
Bahrain has signed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Nevertheless, according to human rights organizations, there are systematic violations, especially of the rights of children and women (see also women's rights in Islam). Government human rights violations and protests against them were reported in 2011 and 2012.
Children are being abused and tortured in prisons in Bahrain, the human rights organization Amnesty International said at a press conference in late 2013. Groups of children are being captured and detained on suspicion of being involved in anti-government protests. Some children were only 13 years old when they were detained. They were blindfolded and beaten. Amnesty verifiably documented these conditions for the period from 2011 onwards. Rapes occurred in order to force “confessions”.
In 2009, a progressive family law (Law No. 19/2009) was submitted for approval in Parliament, which aims to strengthen women's rights and independence. However, strong protests from the now banned Wefaq party led to this law only being applied to women of Sunni faith. Women of Shiite faith are still subject to Shiite, Jafari jurisprudence. Sharia law allows men to have a maximum of four wives, although temporary marriages allow Shiite men to have more wives. However, only four percent of the country's estimated 500,000 men have more than one wife.
The press in Bahrain is one of the least free in the world. Censorship and repressive legislation prevent free journalism. Six bloggers and citizen journalists are in custody in Bahrain.
Bahrain is a member of the United Nations (since September 21, 1971),
the Arab League, OAPEC and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Relations with Saudi Arabia and the other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council as well as the USA (Strategic Alliance) have been the two basic determinants of Bahraini foreign policy for decades. Bahrain is home to the regional headquarters of the US 5th Fleet. The free trade agreement with the USA, which came into force in 2006, is also an expression of these close relationships. Bahrain has been on the Major non-NATO ally list since 2002, making it one of the US's closest diplomatic and strategic partners outside of NATO.
Bahrain is trying to make a name for itself as a flexible and serious discussion partner, largely foregoing any explicit substantive determinations, especially on regional issues (Middle East peace process, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Egypt). Bahrain joined the US-led alliance against the Islamic State terrorist organization in September 2014. At the beginning of November 2014, the Bahraini government hosted an international conference on combating terrorist financing. In December 2016, Bahrain hosted the 12th Gulf Security Dialogue, firmly established as the Manama Dialogue, which is designed and organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Bahrain is closely monitoring the situation in Arab states with Shiite populations, particularly Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The relationship with Iran is characterized by mistrust regarding its regional power aspirations and reached a new low as a result of the break-off of diplomatic relations in January 2016, after Saudi Arabia and Sudan had taken this step shortly before. In the past, Iranian politicians have repeatedly questioned Bahrain's independence. Bahrain also accuses Iran of interfering in internal affairs and of influencing the Shiite opposition and especially the radicalized youth in Bahrain since the unrest in Bahrain in February/March 2011.
An Israel-Bahrain peace treaty with the Kingdom of Bahrain by Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Sajani and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came at the same time as the peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates by UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Said al-Nahjan , also called the Abraham Accords, on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 1:37 p.m. in front of the White House in Washington in the presence of US President Donald Trump.
The Bahraini Armed Forces form the national defense. The military,
which has around 10,000 soldiers (as of 2020), consists of the army, the
air force, the navy, the air defense units and the Royal Guard. Bahrain
spent almost 3.7 percent of its economic output, or $1.4 billion, on its
armed forces in 2019. Foreigners also work in the army.
Since September 2014, Bahrain has been divided into four governorates. Before that, Bahrain was divided into five governorates and, before July 3, 2002, into 12 municipal districts.
The commercial economy is dominated by oil and aluminum exporting
industries. Currently, two thirds of the gross national product is
generated in the services sector, while oil and gas account for 12% of
the GDP, but generate 77% of the total government revenue and therefore
the budget. Bahrain is trying to reduce its strong dependence on oil
through further restructuring of the economy and diversification of
industry. Gross domestic product (GDP) for 2017 is estimated at $34.9
billion. In purchasing power parity terms, GDP is $70.4 billion, or
$48,500 per capita. Real growth was 3.2% in the same year. Bahrain ranks
23rd in the world in terms of GDP per capita based on real purchasing
power. Agriculture accounted for 0.3% of GDP, industry 33.8% and
services 65.9%. In 2004, 1% of the workforce was employed in
agriculture, 32% in industry and 67% in the service sector. Inflation
averaged 2.8% in 2016 and external debt was $21 billion. Due to the
falling oil price, Bahrain's government finances have fallen into
serious difficulties. The budget deficit was around 14% of economic
output in 2016, making it one of the highest in the world. National debt
is now around 90% of GDP. During 2016, Bahrain's credit rating was
downgraded to "junk" level by several major credit rating agencies.
In the Global Competitiveness Index, which measures a country's competitiveness, Bahrain ranks 44th out of 137 countries (as of 2017-2018). Bahrain ranked 54th out of 169 countries in the 2019 Economic Freedom Index.
Dates and vegetables are grown on the few agriculturally used areas. Cattle, goats and sheep are kept in livestock farming. Due to overfishing in the Persian Gulf, the fishing industry using traditional dhows is becoming less important.
In addition to intensively used oil and gas reserves, new oil has been sought since 2008. In 2018, the largest oil deposit in the country's history was discovered. Bahrain has had aluminum factories since 1971 with a 3% global market share. In addition, shipbuilding is developing into an important industry. The third most important industry in the country is the textile industry. Manufacturing is predominantly exported to the USA. The aluminum recycling industry is becoming increasingly important.
Due to its limited oil reserves, the country has created a second source of income through an offshore banking sector. Bahrain is now one of the most important financial services centers in the Middle East.
Intra-Arab tourism, with 12.7 million visitors in 2017, is also
becoming an immensely more important factor - especially because of the
relaxed customs in Bahrain and the liberal serving of alcohol combined
with the proximity to Saudi Arabia. So every weekend is high season in
Bahrain. Fewer individual tourists come from western countries. Bahrain
hardly has any natural bathing beaches, which are poorly maintained and
very remote or in private hands. Some hotels have created artificial
beaches. In the first half of 2018, 49,864 cruise travelers, mostly
German, visited the islands. Bahrain is often offered as part of a
cruise in the Persian Gulf. Mein Schiff (TUI) and AIDA are likely to be
the leading providers. The ships usually come during the week.
Since 2004, the private urbanization project Durrat al-Bahrain has been being developed on the remote southeastern tip of the island with 13 artificial islands - in the same shapes "fish" on the inside and "horseshoes" on the outside - and a marina for large boats and yachts. Here there are private beach sections, villas, apartment buildings, leisure facilities and, on a very small scale, shopping opportunities for a total planned investment of 7.3 billion US dollars. The investments primarily serve wealthy Arab second home owners.
Until 1986, Bahrain could only be reached by ship and plane. Since
then, the King Fahd Causeway has existed as a road connection across the
sea to Saudi Arabia and is used by up to 3 million vehicles every year.
Another connection to Qatar, the Friendship Bridge, is planned; This
structure would then be the longest pier in the world. The small state's
only commercial airport is Bahrain International Airport on the island
of al-Muharraq. It is the headquarters of the state airline Gulf Air.
The previous port capacity south of the town of al-Hidd was mainly used for loading crude oil. Since this source of income is gradually dwindling in Bahrain, efforts have been made to create new port capacity since 2005. The new Hidd Port was built on a raised peninsula to the southeast of the existing facility and went into operation in March 2009. With a capacity of 1.1 million TEU, it is primarily used for container handling and follows similar expansions to those in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar.
In 2010, the entire road network covered around 4,122 km, of which 3,392 km were paved.
In 2003, Bahrain imported mainly crude oil, machinery and transport
equipment from Saudi Arabia, the USA, France, Germany and the United
It mainly exported petroleum and petroleum products to Saudi Arabia, the USA, Taiwan, India, Japan and South Korea.
In 2017, the state budget included expenses of the equivalent of 9.4
billion US dollars, compared to revenues of the equivalent of 5.85
billion US dollars. In 2018, the country adopted a reform program that
was accompanied by a USD 10 billion loan from neighboring states Saudi
Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Bahrain's budget deficit
fell to 4.7% of GDP in 2019 from 6.8% in 2018. Public debt had risen to
nearly 93% of GDP before the reform measures.
Due to its economic situation, the state does not levy any income tax, with the exception of oil companies, making the country one of the so-called tax havens. However, excise taxes of up to 20% are levied in upscale restaurants and the hotel industry. A VAT of 5% was introduced in 2019.
The annual Formula 1 race “Bahrain Grand Prix” took place for the
first time in 2004. In 2011 it was canceled due to political unrest. The
race, scheduled for March 2020, was initially postponed indefinitely due
to the COVID-19 pandemic and then took place in November.
The Bahraini national football team is a very successful football team considering the size of the country. At the 2004 Asian Championships in China, she reached fourth place after a 2-4 defeat against Iran in the third-place game. When qualifying for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the team achieved its best placement to date in this competition. After being in the final group stage of the Asian qualification, the team reached the play-offs for qualifying for the World Cup. There, however, she narrowly lost against the selection from Trinidad and Tobago with an overall result of 1:2 and thus missed qualifying for the tournament. The team also made it to the final play-off round of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and was eliminated by New Zealand after a 0-0 draw at home and 0-1 away.
Bahrain's first Olympic medal was won by Maryam Yusuf Jamal, a naturalized Ethiopian, with the bronze medal in the 1500 meters during the 2012 London Olympics.
At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Bahraini middle-distance runner Rashid Ramzi, a naturalized Moroccan, ran the fastest time in the 1500 m. However, the IOC stripped him of his Olympic gold medal in November 2009 because of doping.
In the 2008/09 snooker season, the Bahrain Championship, a snooker world ranking tournament, took place in Bahrain.
The Bahraini national team took part for the first time at the 2011 Men's Handball World Championship in Sweden.
In May 2015, the Sheikh formed the Bahrain Elite Endurance Triathlon Team. This was followed by winning the Ironman European Championship in July, the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in August and victory at the Ironman Hawaii in October.
For the 2016 Olympics, the country naturalized several track and field athletes, including (originally) Kenyan marathon runners Rose Chelimo and Eunice Kirwa. Cholima won gold in the women's marathon at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London. In 2019 she won the silver medal at the World Championships in Qatar.
The 30,000-seat national stadium in Riffa, south of the capital Manama, is used primarily as a football stadium.
In January 2023, a World Series of Darts tournament was held for the first time on the Bahrain International Circuit.
Special Olympics Bahrain was founded in 1990 and has participated in Special Olympics World Games several times. The association has announced its participation in the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2023 in Berlin. The delegation will be looked after by Bamberg before the games as part of the Host Town Program.