|Government||Constitutional hereditary monarchy|
|Currency||Bahraini dinar (BHD)|
|Population||1,046,814 (including 517,368 non-nationals) (January 2008 est.)|
|Language||Arabic, English, Persian (Farsi), Urdu|
|Religion||Islam 84%, Christianity and other 16%|
|Electricity||220V/50Hz UK plug|
|Time Zone||UTC +3|
The Kingdom of Bahrain is a Middle Eastern archipelago in the Persian Gulf, tucked into a pocket of the sea flanked by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It's an oasis of liberalism ? or at least Western-friendly moderation ? among the Muslim countries of the region. It's popular with travelers for its authentic "Arabness" but without the strict application of Islamic law upon its non-Muslim minority. Case in point: alcohol is legal here. Although it has a heavily petroleum-based economy, its more relaxed culture has also made it a social and shopping mecca (so to speak), which has helped it develop a fairly cosmopolitan middle class not found in neighboring countries with just a rich elite and subsistence-level masses.