Pages

Ads 468x60px

Bahrain - Land of Two Seas



Bahrain, officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.

Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 islands, the largest being Bahrain Island, at 55 km (34 mi) long by 18 km (11 mi) wide. Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway. Qatar is to the southeast across the Gulf of Bahrain. The planned Qatar Bahrain Causeway will link Bahrain and Qatar and become the world's longest marine causeway.

Known for its oil and pearls, Bahrain is also home to many large structures, including the Bahrain World Trade Center and the Bahrain Financial Harbour, with a proposal in place to build the 1,022 m (3,353 ft) high Murjan Tower. The Qal’at al-Bahrain (the harbour and capital of the ancient land of Dilmun) was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005 The Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit.

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 tenth freest overall in the world based on the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal, .

In 2008, Bahrain was named the world's fastest growing financial center by the City of London's Global Financial Centers Index. Bahrain's banking and financial services sector, particularly Islamic banking, have benefited from the regional boom driven by demand for oil. In Bahrain, petroleum production and processing account for about 60% of export receipts, 60% of government revenues, and 30% of GDP.

Economic conditions have fluctuated with the changing price of oil since 1985, for example during and following the Persian Gulf crisis of 1990–91. With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to a number of multinational firms and construction proceeds on several major industrial projects. A large share of exports consist of petroleum products made from imported crude oil. In 2004, Bahrain signed the US-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, which will reduce certain trade barriers between the two nations.


Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of both oil and underground water resources are major long-term economic problems. In 2008, the jobless figure was at 4%, with women over represented at 85% of the total. In 2007 Bahrain became the first Arab country to institute unemployment benefit as part of a series of labour reforms instigated under Minister of Labour, Dr. Majeed Al Alawi.

Geography

Bahrain is a generally flat and arid archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia. It consists of a low desert plain rising gently to a low central escarpment with the highest point the 134 m (440 ft) Mountain of Smoke (Jabal ad Dukhan). Bahrain has a total area of 665 km2 (257 sq mi), which is slightly larger than the Isle of Man, though it is smaller than the nearby King Fahd International Airport near Dammam, Saudi Arabia (780 km2 (301 sq mi)).


As an archipelago of thirty-three islands, Bahrain does not share a land boundary with another country but does have a 161 km (100 mi) coastline. The country also claims a further 22 km (12 nmi) of territorial sea and a 44 km (24 nmi) contiguous zone. Bahrain's largest islands are Bahrain Island, Muharraq Island, Umm an Nasan, and Sitrah. Bahrain has mild winters and very hot, humid summers. The country's natural resources include large quantities of oil and natural gas as well as fish in the offshore waters. Arable land constitutes only 2.82% of the total area.

92% of Bahrain is desert with periodic droughts and dust storms the main natural hazards for Bahrainis. Environmental issues facing Bahrain include desertification resulting from the degradation of limited arable land, coastal degradation (damage to coastlines, coral reefs, and sea vegetation) resulting from oil spills and other discharges from large tankers, oil refineries, distribution stations, and illegal land reclamation at places such as Tubli Bay. The agricultural and domestic sectors' over-utilization of the Dammam Aquifer, the principal aquifer in Bahrain, has led to its salinization by adjacent brackish and saline water bodies.

Climate

The Zagros Mountains across the Persian Gulf in Iraq cause low level winds to be directed toward Bahrain. Dust storms from Iraq and Saudi Arabia transported by northwesterly winds cause reduced visibility in the months of June and July.

Due to the Persian Gulf area's low moisture, summers are very hot and dry. The seas around Bahrain are very shallow, heating up quickly in the summer to produce high humidity, especially at night. Summer temperatures may reach more than 40 °C (104 °F) under the right conditions. Rainfall in Bahrain is minimal and irregular. Rainfalls mostly occur in winter, with a recorded maximum of 71.8 mm (2.83 in).


Religion in Bahrain

In 2010, Bahrain's population grew to 1.234 million, of which more than 666,172 (54%) were non-nationals, up from 1.05 million (517,000 non-nationals) in 2008. Though a majority of the population is ethnically Arab, a sizable number of people from South Asia live in the country. In 2008, approximately 290,000 Indian nationals lived in Bahrain, making them the single largest expatriate community in the country

The official religion of Bahrain is Islam, and a majority practise Shia Islam. However, due to an influx of immigrants and guest workers from non-Muslim countries, such as India, Philippines and Sri Lanka  the overall percentage of Muslims in the country has declined in recent years. According to the 2001 census, 81.2% of Bahrain's population was Muslim, 9% were Christian, and 9.8% practiced Hinduism or other religions. There are no official figures for the proportion of Shia and Sunni among the Muslims of Bahrain. Most academic analysts give the native Bahraini population a Shia majority of approximately 70 percent.

A Financial Times article published on 31 May 1983 found that "Bahrain is a polyglot state, both religiously and racially. Discounting temporary immigrants of the past ten years, there are at least eight or nine communities on the island".

Culture

Bahrain is sometimes described as "Middle East lite" due to its combination of modern infrastructure with a Persian Gulf identity. While Islam is the main religion, Bahrainis are known for their tolerance towards the practice of other faiths.

It is too early to say whether political liberalization under King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has augmented or undermined Bahrain's traditional pluralism. The new political space for Shia and Sunni Islamists has meant that they are now more able to pursue programs that often seek to directly confront this pluralism. At the same time, political reforms have encouraged an opposite trend whereby society becomes more self-critical and shows a greater willingness to examine previous social taboos. In common with the rest of the Muslim world, though Bahrain has take strong strides for women's rights, it does not recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights.

Another facet of the new openness is Bahrain's status as the most prolific book publisher in the Arab world, with 132 books published in 2005 for a population of 700,000. In comparison, the 2005 average for the entire Arab world was seven books published per one million people, according to the United Nations Development Programme. Ali Bahar is the most famous singer in Bahrain. He performs his music with his Band Al-Ekhwa (The Brothers).

Language and religion

Arabic is the official language of Bahrain though English is widely used. Bahrani Arabic is the most widely spoken language. Bahrain's primary religion is Islam. Muslims belong to the Shi'a and Sunni branches of Islam. The Shi'a constitute over 70 percent of the Muslim population.

Bahrain has a Formula One race-track, which hosted the inaugural Gulf Air Grand Prix on 4 April 2004, the first in an Arab country. This was followed by the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2005. Bahrain hosted the opening Grand Prix of the 2006 season on 12 March of that year. Both the above races were won by Fernando Alonso of Renault. The 2007 event took place on April 13, 14th and 15th.

In 2006, Bahrain also hosted its inaugural Australian V8 Supercar event dubbed the "Desert 400". The V8s will return every November to the Sakhir circuit. The Bahrain International Circuit also features a full length drag strip where the Bahrain Drag Racing Club has organised invitational events featuring some of Europe's top drag racing teams to try and raise the profile of the sport in the Middle East.

Military

The kingdom has a small but well equipped military called the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF). The BDF is primarily equipped with United States equipment, such as the F16 Fighting Falcon, F5 Freedom Fighter, UH60 Blackhawk, M60A3 tanks, and the ex-USS Jack Williams, an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate renamed the RBNS Sabha. The Government of Bahrain has a cooperative agreement with the United States Military and has provided the United States a base in Juffair since the early 1990s. This is the home of the headquarters for Commander, United States Naval Forces Central Command (COMUSNAVCENT) / United States Fifth Fleet (COMFIFTHFLT), and about 1500 United States and coalition military personnel

Education

At the beginning of the 20th century, Qur'anic schools (Kuttab) were the only form of education in Bahrain. They were traditional schools aimed at teaching children and youth the reading of the Qur'an. After World War I, Bahrain became open to western influences, and a demand for modern educational institutions appeared. 1919 marked the beginning of modern public school system in Bahrain when the Al-Hidaya Al-Khalifia School for boys opened in Muharraq. In 1926, the Education Committee opened the second public school for boys in Manama, and in 1928 the first public school for girls was opened in Muharraq.

In 2004 King Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa introduced the "King Hamad Schools of Future project that uses Information Communication Technology to support K–12 education in Bahrain. The project's objective is to connect all schools within the kingdom with the Internet. In addition to British intermediate schools, the island is served by the Bahrain School (BS). The BS is a United States Department of Defense school that provides a K-12 curriculum including International Baccalaureate offerings. There are also private schools that offer either the IB Diploma Programme or United Kingdom A-Levels.

In 2007, St. Christopher's School Bahrain became the first school in Bahrain to offer a choice of International Baccalaureate or A-Levels for students. Numerous international educational institutions and schools have established links to Bahrain. A few prominent institutions are DePaul University, Bentley College, the Ernst & Young Training Institute, NYIT and the Birla Institute of Technology International Centre Schooling is paid for by the government. Primary and secondary school attendance is high even though it is not compulsory.

Bahrain also encourages institutions of higher learning, drawing on expatriate talent and the increasing pool of Bahrain Nationals returning from abroad with advanced degrees. The University of Bahrain was established for standard undergraduate and graduate study, and the King Abdulaziz University College of Health Sciences, operating under the direction of the Ministry of Health, trains physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and paramedics. The 2001 National Action Charter paved the way for the formation of private universities such as the Ahlia University in Manama and University College of Bahrain in Saar. The Royal University for Women (RUW), established in 2005, was the first private, purpose-built, international University in Bahrain dedicated solely to educating women. The University of London External has appointed MCG as the regional representative office in Bahrain for distance learning programs. MCG is one of the oldest private institutes in the country. Institutes have also opened which educate Asian students, such as the Pakistan Urdu School, Bahrain and the Indian School, Bahrain.

Tourism

A 123 m (404 ft) high fountain off the coast of Manama. The mechanism is contained in a barge, anchored to the seabed. As a tourist destination, Bahrain receives over eight million visitors per annum. Most of these are from the surrounding Arab states although an increasing number hail from outside the region due to growing awareness of the kingdom's heritage and its higher profile as a result of the Bahrain International F1 Circuit. The Lonely Planet Guide describes Bahrain as "an excellent introduction to the Persian Gulf",because of its authentic Arab heritage and reputation as a liberal and modern country. The kingdom is also home to the popular tourist attraction, the Bahrain City Center.

The kingdom combines modern Arab culture and the archaeological legacy of five thousand years of civilization. The island is home to castles including Qalat Al Bahrain which has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The Bahrain National Museum has artifacts from the country's history dating back to the island's first human inhabitants some 9000 years ago.

Miss Bahrain 2012

 

1 comment:

  1. Septic system design tips that can save you thousands of dollars and prevent major problems down the road.
    see more details : Licensed general contractor massachusetts

    ReplyDelete

 

Blogger news

Blogroll

About

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...