Bahrain means ‘two seas’ and is situated between the Qatar peninsula and the north eastern coast of Saudi Arabia. It is an Islamic constitutional monarchy and is ruled by a Sunni king. It was one of the first states in the Gulf to discover oil and to build a refinery but developed the first post-oil economy in the Persian Gulf, the result of decades of investing in the banking and tourism sectors.
Summers in Bahrain are very hot with temperatures known to reach up to 50 °C (122 °F). Bahrain’s national bird is the bulbul while its national animal is the Arabian oryx. According to the UN, Bahrain has one of the fastest-growing economies in the Arab world with petroleum production and processing as Bahrain’s most exported product, and aluminum production as the second-most exported product, followed by finance and construction materials.
The major language spoken is Arabic, and the main religion is Islam. Bird watching (primarily in the Hawar Islands), scuba diving, and horse riding are the most popular tourist activities in Bahrain.