Official name: State of Bahrain
Area: 620 square kilometers (239 square miles)
Highest point on mainland: Ad-Dukhān Hill (134 meters /440 feet)
Lowest point on land: Sea level
Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern
Time zone: 3 P.M. = noon GMT
Longest distances: Archipelago extends 19 kilometers (12 miles) from east to west; 48 kilometers (30 miles) from north to south.
Land boundaries: No international boundaries
Coastline: 126 kilometers (78 miles)
Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)
1 LOCATION AND SIZE
Bahrain is a Middle Eastern (southwestern Asia and northern Africa) country consisting of thirty-three islands, six of which are inhabited. The country's position in an inlet of the Persian Gulf has given it a regional importance as a trade and transportation center. With an area of 620 square kilometers (239 square miles), Bahrain is more than three times as large as Washington, D.C.
2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES
Bahrain claims no territories or dependencies.
Summers are very hot and humid with southwest winds raising dust storms and drought conditions. Winters are mild, cool, and pleasant. Prevailing southwest winds contribute to dust storms and occasional drought. Rainfall averages less than 10 centimeters (4 inches) annually and occurs primarily from December to March.
|S EASON||M ONTHS||A VERAGE TEMPERATURE : °C ELSIUS (°F AHRENHEIT )|
|Summer||May to September||29 to 37°C (84 to 99° F)|
|Winter||December to March||14 to 20°C (57 to 68°F)|
4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS
Low rolling hills, rocky cliffs, and wadis (dry river or stream beds) comprise the majority of this barren land, although a narrow strip of land along the north coast of the island of Bahrain is irrigated by natural springs and artesian wells (water that flows to the surface without pumping). As of 2002, increasing demands on the natural water resources had begun to deplete them, and some of the lush date palms and other vegetation had begun to decline.
Most of the lesser islands are flat and sandy, although date groves cover the island of Nabih Salih. Bahrain also encompasses the Hawār Islands, off the coast of Qatar.
5 OCEANS AND SEAS
Bahrain is located in the Persian Gulf, which is connected to the Arabian Sea by the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.
Seacoast and Undersea Features
Oil spills and other environmental hazards have damaged Bahrain's coastline and beaches.
Sea Inlets and Straits
Within the Persian Gulf, Bahrain occupies an inlet called the Gulf of Bahrain.
Islands and Archipelagos
The six major islands in the archipelago are Bahrain (the largest); Al Muharraq; Sitrah; Umm an-Na'sān; Nabih Salih; and Jidda. At low tide, extensive mud flats along the east coast of Al Muhurraq attract wading birds.
In 2001, the International Court of Justice awarded the Hawār Islands, long disputed with Qatar, to Bahrain. The remaining islands are little more than exposed rock and sandbar.
Damage to coral reefs and sea vegetation from oil spills and other petroleum-related discharges has adversely affected Bahrain's coastline and beaches.
6 INLAND LAKES
Bahrain has no notable lakes.
7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS
Comprised of mostly barren land, Bahrain has little fresh water, and no rivers. There are 10 square kilometers (about 6.2 square miles) of land on the main island of Bahrain that are irrigated by natural springs and artesian wells.
Bahrain is primarily desert. Only desert vegetation can survive on the sand-covered limestone rock that makes up most of the country's terrain.
9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN
On the main island of Bahrain, the land gradually rises from the shoreline to the center, where rocky cliffs surround a basin. Near the center of this basin is the country's highest elevation, Ad-Dukhān Hill, which rises only 134 meters (440 feet) above sea level.
10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES
Bahrain has no mountains or volcanoes.
11 CANYONS AND CAVES
Bahrain has no canyons or caves.
12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS
Bahrain has no plateaus.
13 MAN-MADE FEATURES
Several bridges connect the island of Bahrain to the other major islands in the archipelago; the King Fahd Causeway links the island to Saudi Arabia. In 2002, plans were underway to construct a 45-kilometer (28-mile) bridge connecting Qatar to Bahrain.
14 FURTHER READING
Crawford, Harriet E. W. Dilmun and Its Gulf Neighbors . New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Jenner, Michael. Bahrain, Gulf Heritage in Transition. New York: Longman, 1984.
Vine, Peter. Pearls in Arabian Waters: The Heritage of Bahrain . London: Immel Publications, 1986.