Capital | Manama
Population | 738,004
Area | 665 SQ KM
Official Language | Arabic
Holidays | National Day, 16 December (1971); note - 15 August 1971 was the date of independence from the UK, 16 December 1971 was the date of independence from British protection
Currency | Bahrani dinars (BHD)
Time Zone | UTC +3
Best Time to Visit | November to February (for warm days and cool nights)
Connecting with the Culture | Absorbing 7000 years of Bahrain’s history of the National Museum in Manama. Entering the Al-Fatih Mosque in Manama, a rare opportunity for non-Muslims. Visiting the seven layers of excavated material at the Qal’at al Bahrain archeological site. Watching local weavers at work in the village of Bani Jamrah. Wandering through the Royal Tombs at A’ali.
Read | Geoffrey Bibby’s Looking for Dilmun, an archeologist’s account of early excavations on Bahrain.
Listen | Desert Beat by Bahraini musician and composer Hashim al-Alawi
Watch | Al Za’ir (Visitor), Bahrain’s first ever thriller, directed by Bassam Al Thawadi
Eat | machbous (rice served with meat or fish),
Drink | coffee – cardamom-infused Arabic style
In a Word | Salam alaykum (common greeting; literally, ‘peace be upon you’)
Characteristics | Archeological excavations; palm trees; dates; carpet weaving; embroidered gowns; ancient temples; drinking tiny cups of tea at teahouses; dhows (fishing boats); baklava
Surprises | Scuba diving in the shallow warm waters, which offer 200 species of fish; snorkeling among Bahrain’s coral reefs.
NEWS ABOUT BAHRAIN
Bahrain Ramadan services go "E"
(HN, 7/19/12) - This year during Ramadan celebrations which start Friday, July 20, Bahrain's Muslim practitioners will be able to access a collection of Ramadan-oriented information services from the government. Called, ‘Ramadaniyat’ the site & mobile tools will provide a range of options with an application for smart devices available at bahrain.bh. “Ramadaniyat provides a collection of integrated eServices that are looked for by people who fast, including prayer times, a Ramadan calendar & a list of Majlis, along with other services such as daily recipes from the program ‘Shahrazad & Shahryar’ which will be broadcast live every day on Radio Bahrain from Sunday to Thursday," said the authority. (Read more at GulfNews)