congress LOCATION: Kingdom of Bahrain
Arabic is the official language of Bahrain. English is widely spoken. French and German are also spoken within the tourism industry.
Area: 760 sq km (293 sq miles).
Population: 1.3 million (2015).
Population density: 1,771.2 per sq km.
Government: Constitutional monarchy.
His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.
Head of government:
Prime Minister H.R.H. Prince Khalifa bin Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
220-240 volts AC, 50Hz (Awali, 110 volts AC, 60Hz). British-style plugs with three square pins are standard.
With a name meaning 'Two Seas' it is little wonder that Bahrain, an archipelago of 33 islands in the Gulf, defines itself in relation to the water that surrounds its shallow shores. Those shallows once harboured a precious trade in pearls; now the same shallows are being reclaimed for ambitious, high profile developments, such as the twin 50-storey towers of Bahrain's World Trade Centre and the 2,787,000 sq m (30,000,000 sq ft) horseshoe of man-made islands at the southern tip of the country. In the middle of Bahrain, not far from where the Formula 1 racetrack now draws the crowds, is the point where in 1932 the Arab world first struck gold - black gold, that is - and oil has been the mainstay of the country ever since. As visitors travel the modest length of Bahrain, visiting the ancient burial mounds, forts, craft markets and potteries, they will run into many reminders of this momentous discovery, not least in the relaxed affluence of Bahrain's multicultural residents. Further information can be found at: Bahrain.com
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