20 Fascinating Facts About Bahrain
1. Bahrain is the third-smallest country in Asia – only the city-state of Singapore and the Maldives have smaller landmasses.
2. Bahrain is also the smallest sovereign state in the Middle East.
3. Bahrain is an island nation, but it is connected to the mainland east coast of Saudi Arabia by the King Fahd Causeway, a 25km roadway opened in 1986 that connects the two countries.
4. Due to a ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia from 1957 to 2018, the causeway was the only bridge in the world where women could drive on it one side (Bahrain), but not on the other (Saudi Arabia). The border is located roughly halfway across the causeway.
5. Bahrain staged the Middle East’s first Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2004.
6. Bahrain is the biggest per-capita consumer of electricity in Asia and the third biggest in the world, after Iceland and Norway.
7. Bahrain was once the seat of the empire of Dilmun (3200–330 BC), whose influence spread as far north as modern Kuwait and deep into eastern Saudi Arabia.
8. There are more than 100,000 Dilmun-era burial mounds (ancient grave mounds) spread across Bahrain, most of them constructed between 2200 and 1750 BCE. 21 of these archaeological sites have been inscribed as the Dilmun Burial Mounds as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
9. From 1602 to 1783, Bahrain was part of the Persian Empire.
10. Bahrain is an archipelago consisting of 33 natural islands and an additional 51 artificial islands created from land reclamation projects.
11. Durrat Al Bahrain is a series of 14 large artificial islands that cost $6 billion (USD) to construct. The islands are designed to look like flower petals and are used for residential housing as well as tourism with luxury hotels and shopping malls.
12. Since 1782 (possibly 1783), the Al Khalifa family has ruled Bahrain and is still in power today.
13. Bahrain was under British administration until 1971 when it gained full independence.
14. In 2011, the country saw widespread pro-democracy protests inspired by similar revolts that overthrew rulers in Tunisia and Egypt. Saudi Arabian troops were called in to suppress the pro-democracy activists.
15. Bahrain is home to the Tree of Life, a single mesquite tree planted around 1583 in the southern desert. It is still unclear what sustains the tree as there are no obvious water sources nearby.
16. Bahrain has a long history of harvesting pearls from oyster beds in the Persian Gulf. Merchant buildings, shops, storehouses, a mosque, a fortress, and offshore oyster beds located across Bahrain have been inscribed as the ‘Pearling, Testimony of an Island Economy’ UNESCO World Heritage site.
17. Bahrain was one of the first states in the Gulf to discover oil when in 1931 it discovered its first oil reserve and began drilling.
18. The Bahrain World Trade Center (pictured above) was the world’s first skyscraper to integrate wind turbines into its design.
19. Bahrain has the world’s largest underwater theme park called Dive Bahrain. The park is spread across 100,000 sq meters and has a 70m fully submerged Boeing 747 jumbo jet airplane.
20. The Bahraini flag consists of a red background, which is the traditional color for flags of Persian Gulf states, with a white serrated strip separated by five triangles that reflect the five pillars of Islam.