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Bahrain Overview

Posted by in on 6-19-13

The Kingdom of Bahrain [1] is a Middle Eastern archipelago in the Persian Gulf, tucked into a pocket of the sea flanked by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It’s an oasis of social liberalism – or at least Western-friendly moderation – among the Muslim countries of the region. It’s popular with travelers for its authentic “Arabness” but without the strict application of Islamic law upon its non-Muslim minority. Case in point: alcohol is legal here. Although it has a heavily petroleum-based economy, its more relaxed culture has also made it a social and shopping mecca (so to speak), which has helped it develop a fairly cosmopolitan middle class not found in neighboring countries with just a rich elite and subsistence-level masses.
Capital     Manama
Government     Constitutional hereditary monarchy
Currency     Bahraini dinar (BHD)
Area     710 km2
Population     1,046,814 (including 517,368 non-nationals) (January 2008 est.)
Language     Arabic, English, Persian (Farsi), Urdu
Religion     Islam 84%, Christianity and other 16%
Electricity     220V/50Hz UK plug
Country code     +973
Internet TLD     .bh
Time Zone     UTC +3

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