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.


getting there
Will probably only be practicable from Europe by plane.

entry requirements
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: 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.



ancient period
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 Babylonians.

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.