Bahrain -- Geography and Population
Figure 6. Bahrain, 1993
Bahrain (from the Arabic word for "two seas") comprises
archipelago of thirty-three islands situated midway in the
Persian Gulf close to the shore of the Arabian Peninsula.
islands are about twenty-four kilometers from the east
Saudi Arabia and twenty-eight kilometers from Qatar. The
area of the islands is about 691 square kilometers, or
times the size of the District of Columbia. The largest
accounting for 83 percent of the area, is Bahrain (also
Al Bahrayn), which has an extent of 572 square kilometers.
north to south, Bahrain is forty-eight kilometers long; at
widest point in the north, it is sixteen kilometers from
Around most of Bahrain is a relatively shallow inlet of
Persian Gulf known as the Gulf of Bahrain. The seabed
Bahrain is rocky and, mainly off the northern part of the
covered by extensive coral reefs. Most of the island is
and barren desert. Outcroppings of limestone form low
hills, stubby cliffs, and shallow ravines. The limestone
covered by various densities of saline sand, capable of
supporting only the hardiest desert vegetation--chiefly
trees and scrub. There is a fertile strip five kilometers
along the northern coast on which date, almond, fig, and
pomegranate trees grow. The interior contains an
rises to 134 meters, the highest point on the island, to
Jabal ad Dukhan (Mountain of Smoke), named for the mists
often wreathe the summit. Most of the country's oil wells
situated in the vicinity of Jabal ad Dukhan.
Manama (Al Manamah), the capital, is located on the
northeastern tip of the island of Bahrain. The main port,
Salman, also is located on the island, as are the major
refining facilities and commercial centers. Causeways and
connect Bahrain to adjacent islands and the mainland of
Arabia. The oldest causeway, originally constructed in
links Bahrain to Al Muharraq, the second largest island.
the island is only six kilometers long, the country's
largest city, Al Muharraq, and the international airport
located there. A causeway also connects Al Muharraq to the
island of Jazirat al Azl, the site of a major ship-repair
dry-dock center. South of Jazirat al Azl, the island of
site of the oil export terminal, is linked to Bahrain by a
that spans the narrow channel separating the two islands.
causeway to the island of Umm an Nasan, off the west coast
Bahrain, continues on to the Saudi mainland town of Al
Umm an Nasan is the private property of the amir and the
his personal game preserve.
The other islands of significance include Nabi Salah,
is northwest of Sitrah; Jiddah, to the north of Umm an
a group of islands, the largest of which is Hawar, near
Foreign Relations, ch. 4). Nabi
contains several freshwater springs that are used to
island's extensive date palm groves. The rocky islet of
houses the state prison. Hawar and the fifteen small
it are the subject of a territorial dispute between
Qatar. Hawar is nineteen kilometers long and about oneand onehalf kilometers wide. The other islands are uninhabited
nesting sites for a variety of migratory birds.
Data as of January 1993