As you will discover below; there are dozens of reasons why the islands of Bahrain are special and unique – whether in Bahrain’s tolerant and open social model; its fascinating history and cultural heritage; or Bahrain’s opportunities for tourism, investment and doing business.

As the smallest Arab state, Bahrain is also arguably one of the region’s best-kept secrets. Below we present some key insights about the Kingdom of Bahrain to help unlock its many mysteries.

 

#10 – Historic power-centre

Of the dozens of empires, kingdoms and dynasties which have risen and fallen in the Arabian Gulf over the centuries; Bahrain has been a continuing power-centre and a hub of wealth, stability and culture.

Stretching back into pre-history, Bahrain was already legendary for its pearling wealth and as a rare source of fresh water for long-distance traders. During the Islamic period, as Damascus and Baghdad flourished, Bahrain reached even greater heights of wealth and culture as the Gulf trade intensified.

With the formal recognition of Bahrain’s independence in 1971 came international acceptance of what had been broadly true for several millennia – Bahrain as a sovereign nation, in charge of its own affairs and assertively seeking warm relations with its neighbours.

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#9 – Island nation

Historically, Bahrain has always made its living from the sea – trade, fishing and pearling. Bahrainis instinctively look outwards and welcome all incomers. So much of Bahraini culture is a melting pot of the cultures that pass through Bahrain owing to its central location on the Gulf trade routes.

Culturally, this means that although Bahrain lies at the heart of the Arab world, its influences go much further. If you look at Bahraini cuisine, art, music, crafts and other traditions, they are enriched by a diverse range of influences from west and east, but synthetized into something uniquely Bahraini.

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#8 – Dependable ally

Bahrain is a central member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, but also prides itself on excellent relations with a broad range of nations round the world. Bahrain’s core role in regional coalitions against the so-called “Islamic State” and in Yemen illustrates both Bahrain’s capacity as a team player and Bahrain’s readiness to take on the forces of extremism, intolerance and sectarianism.

Bahrain considers itself the dependable and unwavering friend and ally of all moderate forces working towards peace, stability and coexistence in the region.

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#7 – Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy

The 2001 National Action Charter – popularly approved by more than 98% of Bahrainis – enshrined King Hamad’s vision of Bahrain as a Constitutional Monarchy, centred around a two-chamber Parliament. Over the next 15 years the elected Parliament has become a core part of the legislative process in Bahrain. The 2012 constitutional amendments took this even further. 

Bahrain’s commitment to democratization means that elected representatives in Parliament are playing an increasingly central role in legislation and policy-making. Bahrain’s leaders have continually emphasized their determination to continue the reform process and maintain Bahrain’s position as one of the most politically progressive states in the region.

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#6 – Tourist paradise

Bahrain has dozens of things to offer visitors – whether you want beaches; culture and history; a diverse range of restaurants; or a broad choice of leisure activities. Each month, hundreds of thousands of visitors are flocking to Bahrain to enjoy the broad range of opportunities on offer.

While in other Gulf states tourism opportunities are quite limited because of conservative cultural norms or security concerns; Bahrain has relatively relaxed dress codes for men and women and is a safe and relaxed location for leisure and tourism.

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#5 – Open Economy

Of all the GCC states, Bahrain is the country in the region whose economy has made most progress in diversifying away from complete dependence on oil.

Bahrain’s economy really stands out from other Middle Eastern states due to its degree of economic openness. Global ratings of economic performance and investment climate consequently always score Bahrain very highly. The Heritage Foundation’s “economic freedom” rating puts Bahrain as the only Arab state on its global top 20 list.

Initiatives to strengthen the regulatory and financial environment and combat corruption and financial mismanagement are improving Bahrain’s long term financial position. There is much to attract investment and foreign businesses. With a thriving private sector and exciting levels of expansion in the banking, tourism and hospitality sectors, Bahrain’s economic prospects continue to go from strength to strength.

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#4 – Cultural hub

At a time when former centres of Arab culture – like Beirut, Tunis, Baghdad and Cairo – are mired in political instability in instability; Manama has repeatedly been recognized as a capital of tourism and culture in the Arab world.

For people visiting and taking up residence in Bahrain, Bahrain’s cultural horizons come as a breath of fresh air. There is always a broad range of events and activities; and the encouragement and patronage of artistic and intellectual pursuits makes Bahrain a rewarding destination for those who thrive on culture and arts.

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#3 – Personal safety

According to various quality-of-life and security indexes, Bahrain is one of the safest countries in the world.

The EList puts Bahrain as having the fourth lowest crime rate in the world after Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore, noting that violent crime is almost unheard of.  Meanwhile, the Numbeo database found crime rates in Bahrain to be exceptionally low.

Non-Bahraini expats broadly describe themselves as feeling safe and relaxed living in Bahrain. Many even report that they are not worried about leaving their cars and homes unlocked, such is the low risk of crime.

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#2 – Religious tolerance

Bahrain consolidated its position as the most religiously-progressive state in the region when in 2002 its new Constitution, the National Action Charter, enshrined the rights of all faiths and guaranteed freedom of worship. Over half of those living in Bahrain are non-Bahraini expatriates, resulting in the Kingdom having a very high religious diversity.

Bahrain’s leaders have repeatedly stressed that religious tolerance lies at the core of Bahrain’s social values. Nobody should be discriminated against or marginalized because of their religious beliefs and practices.

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#1 – Family friendly

Bahrain is by far the most culturally tolerant regional state and a number of polls measuring indices have singled out Bahrain as being culturally the most liberal and tolerant state in the Arab world. All major religions are well-represented and protected by the Constitution; and women have a strong role in all walks of life.

As a nation which sells itself as a tourist destination, you are spoilt for choice for activities for the children. Over and above this, Bahrain has a traditionally friendly and welcoming society. People like living in Bahrain simply because it feels like home.

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Ten reasons why Bahrain is best: Click these links to find out

#1 – Family friendly

#2 – Religious tolerance

#3 – Personal safety

#4 – Cultural hub

#5 – Open economy

#6 – Tourist paradise

#7 – Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy

#8 – Dependable ally

#9 – Island nation

#10 – Historic power-centre

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