Category:   World Travel Directory  :  Asia  :  Bahrain
The Kingdom of Bahrain is an Arabic island country in the Persian Gulf ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway, which officially opened on 25 November 1986. Qatar is to the southeast across the Gulf of Bahrain. The planned Qatar–Bahrain Friendship Bridge will link Bahrain to Qatar as the longest fixed link in the world.

Bahrain is the Arabic term for "two seas", referring to the freshwater springs that are found within the salty seas surrounding it. Bahrain has been inhabited since ancient times. Its strategic location in the Persian Gulf has brought rule and influence from the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and the Arabs, under whom the island became Islamic.

Oil was discovered in 1932 and brought rapid modernization to Bahrain.  In a region experiencing an oil boom, Bahrain has the fastest growing economy in the Arab world, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia found in January 2006.

Bahrain also has the freest economy in the Middle East according to the 2006 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal, and is twenty-fifth freest overall in the world. In 2008, Bahrain was named the world’s fastest growing financial center by the City of London’s Global Financial Centres Index.  Source

Bahrain Facts

Population: 708 thousand

Capital: Manama

Currency: Bahraini dinar

Area: 665 km2

Language: Arabic

Main Religion: Muslim

Calling Code: +973

Time Zone: GMT + 3

Main Cities
: Manama, Muharraq, Dar Kulayb, Madinat ‘Isa, Sitra, Jidd Hafs, Hedd