The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago of thirty-three islands lying off the western shores of the Arabian Gulf and because of its oasis-like nature, the largest island is often referred to as ‘The Pearl of the Gulf’. Exceptional in many aspects as compared to its neighbours, it is the smallest of the Middle East Arab nations and hence has always had to resort to political diplomacy as a means of survival and sustenance.
Bahrain’s emergence as a distinct identity is attributed to the following factors:
There was a time when Bahrain’s economy was completely dependent on revenue earned from pearl diving and oil and petroleum reserves but over a period of time when both stocks began dwindling in volume the need was felt to diversify into banking and industries. On exploring other avenues, tourism emerged as one of the options and efforts are on to attract visitors from all over the world.
A visa can be acquired on arrival or even online and it is the Bahrain International Airport which serves as an entry point for international flights. Located east of the capital city of Manama, this airport serves as the base of the indigenous Gulf Air as well as the low-cost carrier Air Arabia. Apart from connecting the city with the rest of the region as well as the world, the airport is known for its duty-free shopping arcade and its ‘transotel’ facilities for transit passengers.
Likewise, Bahrain could be accessed by bus, car and boat as well the most common point of entry being Saudi Arabia wherein there are eight buses and taxis plying between the two countries.
Within Bahrain, travelling is made easy through the presence of taxis, buses and cars, the most economical fares being that of buses and the most expensive being the Bahrain Limo.
Bahrain, being Arabic for ‘two seas’, owes its name to the fresh water springs within the enclosure of salty seas and it is this factor in addition to its strategic location which has made this island an abode of human civilizations since ancient times. It is also believed to be the Garden of Eden and hence the beginning of civilization.
Since it has always been occupied by different races, it has had a variety of names with each occupant calling the city through his own interpretation. However, the most common name during those tumultuous yesteryears was ‘Dilmun’ and the credit of shaping the island to its present state goes to the Bani Utbah and Al Khalifa tribes.
Oil was discovered in Bahrain in 1932 and this led to rapid commercialization and modernization of the country. It also translated into close political relations with the United Kingdom which came in handy while warding off conquests from some of the neighbouring countries. Although the island has been witness to violence every now and then, it is one of the few Arab nations which started diversifying before the oil recession began and hence has been able to sustain through the difficult times without facing many hardships.