Friday, November 27, 2020

Bahrain

Bahrain Flag



Why visit Bahrain?
For the experience of ancient history, beaches, bird migration, birdwatching, culture, horse riding, markets, sailing and scuba diving.


Sitra, Bahrain. Photo Credit: Pixabay


At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Antiques, brassware, carpets, coffee pots, handicrafts, pearls, jewelry and tailor-made clothing.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Biryani (rice and meat). Gaimat (dessert dumpling). Ghuraiba(cookie). Harees (porridge). Machboos ala Dajaj (spiced chicken and rice). Muhammar (rice and fried fish). Qouzi (lamb and rice). Zalabia (fried dough and syrup).
  • Local Drink to Try: Chai (sweetened tea). Ghawa (coffee). Laban (salty buttermilk). Rose Sharbat. Qahwah (coffee).

Muharraq (Muharraq Island), Bahrain. Photo Credit: Mahmood Ali/Pixabay 


Fun Facts
  • Admiral of "Alexander the Great", Nearchus (360BC-300 BC) is believed to be the first commander to visit the island.
  • In 628CE, earliest known conversion to Islam.
  • From 1521-1602, ruled by the Portuguese Empire.
  • During 19th Century (1801-1900), considered the best pearl fisheries in the world.
  • In 1802, was governed by a 12-year-old child, when ruler Sayyid Sultan appointed his son, Salim, as governor (Arad Fort).
  • In 1893, their first hospital (American Mission Hospital) opened.
  • Prior to the First World War (1914-1918), there were around 400 vessels hunting pearls (annually exporting over £30,000).
  • During the 1930s, Barbara Woolworth Hutton (1912-1979), Philanthropist "Poor Little Rich Girl" purchased a Bahraini Pearl for $75,000USD.
  • In 1931, discovered oil, one of the first Arab Gulf to do so.
  • In 1935, British Royal Navy relocated their base there.
  • Since 1948, a headquarters for United States Naval Forces Central Command, United States Fifth Fleet and United States military personnel.
  • Since 1960, has offered citizens a Universal Health Care System.
  • In 1971, gained independence from the British.
  • In 1973, held its first parliamentary elections (dissolved in 1975). 
  • In 2002, women acquired rights to stand in national elections and vote.
  • In 2006, Lateefa Al Gaood (1956), Politician became the first female candidate to be elected to the Council of Representatives.
  • In 2006, they changed their weekend from Thursdays and Fridays to Fridays and Saturdays to have a day of the weekend shared with the rest of the world.
  • In 2008, Houda Ezra Ebrahim Nonoo (1964) was the first Jewish Ambassador of any Arab country to serve the United States (2008-2013).
  • In 2018, cricket was introduced.
  • In 2019, opened the world's largest underwater theme park (100,000 square meters), Dive Bahrain with artificial coral reefs, pearl merchant house, sculptures and sunken Boeing 747.
  • Consists of  40 natural islands and additional 51 artificial islands.
  • Suggestive claims as the biblical Garden of Eden.
  • The Economy is aluminum, banking, fertilizer and shipbuilding.
  • A guest of Prince Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Michael Jackson (1958-2009), Singer/Songwriter "King of Pop" briefly resided on the man-made Amwaj Islands for isolation and seclusion. Property purchase of $1.5USD million in two villas and a quarter acres.
  • Large exporter of dates.
  • Developed the first post-oil economy in the Persian Gulf.
  • Historical site of Greek athletic contests.
  • Relies on meat imports from Australia. 
  • Nearly 75% of their fruits are imported.
  • Home (Sakhir Desert) to the Tree of Life (over 400 years old).
  • Education is required for children between the ages 6-14 and co-education is not used in public schools.
  • Among the Persian Gulf first to have a recording studio.
  • In old buildings, the traditional architectural element was a wind tower for natural cooling and ventilation.  

Arad Fort, Arad, Bahrain. Photo Credit: Natascha Zeller/Pixabay 


Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: Bahrain Shopping Festival (January),Muharram (Islamic New Year) (January), Bahrain Sports Day (February), Ta’a Al Shabab (February), Bahrain Heritage Festival (March), Bahrain International Book Fair (March), Spring of Culture (March), Milad Al Nabi (April), Bahrain Summer (June), Independence Day (June), Marassi Diving Festival (November), The Avenues Carnival (August), Bahrain International Music Festival (October), Bahrain Jazz Festival (November), Bahrain Speed Racing Championship (November) and Festival of Lights (November).
  • Holidays: New Year's Day (January), Labour Day (May), Accession Day (December), National Day (December), Islamic New Year, Day of Ashura, Prophet Muhammad's Birthday, Little Feast, Arafat Day and Feast of the Sacrifice.

Seef (District in Manama), Bahrain. Photo Credit: Sonny Saguil/Unsplash 


Good to Know
  • Between December to January is ideal for observance for bird nesting (Hawar Islands).
  • Journalists risk prosecution for offenses which include "undermining" the government and religion.
  • Women should dress conservatively also with abaya or hijab.
  • Traditional men attire is the thobe (ankle length garment) and headdresses (agal, ghutra, keffiyeh).
  • Request Taxi Drivers to turn on meters before departing.
  • Eye irritations are common due to dust and sand.
  • Summer humidity is of concern for asmastic travelers.
  • Beware of heat and sun strokes during summer months.
  • During Ramadan (Islamic Holy month) do not eat, drink or smoke in public!
  • Remove your shoes to enter a mosque.
  • Rental company may require a International Drivers License.
  • Rigorous internet filters are known to target human rights, political, religious material.
  • Four main islands connect: Bahrain Island, Muharraq Island, Sitra Island and Umm an-Nasan. 
  • Bahrain Metro is under construction and projected operational by 2023.
  • English is widely spoken.

World Trade Center, Manama, Bahrain. Photo Credit: onasama/Pixabay 


This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months validity upon return and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.
  • Required Vaccination from select countries. 
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit apply.

The Bahrain National Theatre, Manama, Bahrain. Photo Credit: Wilson Borja/Pixabay 

  • Best Time to Visit: November - March
  • Coldest Month: November - March
  • Hottest Months: May - September
  • Peak Season: November - February
Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Bahrain Pearling Trail, Dilmun Burial Mounds and Qal'at al-Bahrain.


Bahrain Gold Jewelry. Photo Credit: Pixabay 

Bahraini Gold



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                                             All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice. 

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