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P I C T U R E

Y O U R S E L F

H E R E


THE PLACE YO U ’ D R AT H E R B E

For over 4,000 years, our island nation has been one of the Gulf’s most cosmopolitan crossroads.


Today, expatriates choose Bahrain over other Gulf locations for the ease of life; the simple pleasures we offer. 0 2


We have been greeting visitors warmly from the days of the great Dilmun trading civilisation. Then scholars thought Bahrain a sacred island paradise, where sweet waters flowed and people enjoyed eternal life. Now, modern architecture has replaced myth, but Bahrain retains its simple charm. Our modern capital, Manama, has an authenticity that is unique in the Gulf. Experience our melting pot society, thriving arts scene, boutique restaurants and cafĂŠ culture. View the elegant restored houses of the Muharraq quarter, where traditional architecture and modern technology showcase distinguished Arabic literature, poetry and music. We have a character that is deep-rooted and distinct. And if you ask a non-Bahraini resident why he or she loves Bahrain, ‘authenticity’ will be one of the first words you hear... along with high standards of living, friendliness, warmth, location and good schools.


“BAHRAIN IS THE LONG-STANDING FAVOURITE ‘HOME’ OF EXPATS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, A STATUS THAT THE WORLD’S LARGEST SURVEY OF EXPATS RECENTLY CONFIRMED, RANKING US NUMBER ONE IN THE GULF FOR QUALITY OF LIFE. THE HSBC EXPAT EXPLORER POLL REVEALS THE KINGDOM AS THE PLACE EXPATS FIND MOST COMFORTABLE CULTURALLY, RANKING ABOVE ALL OTHER COUNTRIES IN THE REGION.”

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OUR RICH HISTORY AND C U LT U R E


The history of Bahrain dates back to civilisation’s earliest days. The Dilmunians populated our main island of Manama during the Bronze Age, taking advantage of its position astride key trade routes to build a great trading empire. Afterwards the Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek-based Tylos and Islamic civilisations all visited our shores. All contributed to our rich, diverse and interesting culture. Fascinating archaeological sites abound. We have 3,000 year-old temples in Barbar; the 16th Century Bahrain Fort and the Pearl Route, both UNESCO World Heritage sites; the 15th Century Arad Fort; and the tombs. Linking today with ancient Dilmun, 85,000 burial mounds have been discovered – the highest concentration anywhere on earth. And in the Bahrain National Museum you will find an extraordinary collection of artefacts spanning 6,000 years.

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You won’t be surprised that in Bahrain we don’t do bling – just culture. Our ancient civilisation has bequeathed us a wealth of attractions, some old and some new. As the Gulf’s centre of merchant trade, Bahrain has long been the cultural melting pot of the Gulf, with all nationalities and faiths welcome. Truly multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-denominational, Bahrain is home to churches, temples and synagogues alongside mosques. We have the Al Fateh Mosque, our largest place of worship; then there are the charming old streets of Muharraq quarter, once our capital. Of course, camel rides are obligatory and, for anyone interested in original sin, Bahrain is often said to be the site of the Garden of Eden. Flip forward to today and Bahrain is a blossoming Arabic centre of the arts. Galleries display contrasting local, international, contemporary and fine art. And our poets are well-known for their refined style. We rejoice in our deep cultural heritage, which has been recognised by Manama becoming the Arab Capital of Culture in 2012.


NO BLING, JUST C U LT U R E

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“EAST MEETS WEST HERE, DELIGHTING YOU WITH A NATURAL FUSION OF ENTERTAINMENT.”


From high culture to pop culture, from artist’s canvass to director’s screen, we blend the best of Bahrain and the rest of the world. Attracting talent from the Middle East and beyond, our annual Spring of Culture and International Music Festival showcase dance, music and arts. And the Bahrain Annual Fine Art Exhibition reveals our island Kingdom’s creative talents. Make sure to visit our multiplex cinemas screening the latest film releases – for you and your children – as do our television stations. A trip to Bahrain is incomplete without an evening at the National Theatre of Bahrain. The state-of-the-art Theatre brings world-class performers from around the globe all year long.

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Quality of life is a question of balance. When it comes to affordability, your money goes further in Bahrain. Our island Kingdom takes none of your income in tax, and leaves you to delight in the Gulf’s lowest cost of living. You can buy or rent a nice home, choosing between spacious villas with pools or modern apartments. Some things, like domestic help, are far more affordable than at home (or elsewhere in the Gulf). Many expats find themselves decidedly well-off, and able to live in some luxury. But Bahrain gives you more than this. It’s culturally relaxed, casual and outwardlooking. We value women’s contribution to our society and female visitors have a tranquil time here. The pace of life benefits people and businesses equally.

E N J OY T H E GULF’S BEST QUALITY OF LIFE


“HERE’S THE GULF LIFE YOU WILL CHERISH AND ADMIRE.”

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Perhaps it’s our heritage as a trading nation that makes us so eager to greet people coming to Bahrain for the first time. Maybe it’s simply in our nature. Whatever the reason, friendship is important in Bahrain – and courteous hospitality is almost a national custom. Bahrain is considered one of the friendliest places in the region and the Bahraini people continue to be the country’s greatest asset. Bahrainis go the extra mile to please. We take delight in welcoming visitors to our homes, making friends and getting to know you. We think strong personal relationships are the basis of everything. We take pleasure in drinking coffee together, dining and generally getting to know people from all countries.

F R I E N D S H I P, OUR N AT I O N A L CUSTOM


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B U I LT FOR THE F A M I LY


Family life thrives in Bahrain. One of the best places to raise children in the Middle East, it is a safe, nurturing environment with activities to stimulate all the family, all year round. There are the state-of-the-art Lost Paradise of Dilmun and Wahooo! water parks, Adhari Amusement Park, Al Areen Wildlife Park & Reserve and Khalifa Grand Public Park. We even have highly ranked international schools – choose from UK, US, French, Indian or Japanese curricula. When your children leave school, they have a choice of universities providing recognised international qualifications.

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BOUTIQUE STYLE, SOUK SPIRIT


From the style of our boutiques to the spirit of our souks, nothing like our striking mix of contemporary and classical can be found anywhere else. There are modern malls and designer boutiques where you can buy the latest fashions. Asian, European and US designers, you can find them all here. And then there are our vibrant souks, where you can buy everything here from locally dyed fabrics and handmade carpets, to gold and jewellery, as well as delicious local fruits, vegetables and herbs. What’s more, it’s rude not to haggle!

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FOOD FOR THE SOUL


Food for the soul – our restaurants and cafés warm the soul. World-class chefs serve up exquisite dishes from many nations, often in beautiful settings reminiscent of Thai temples or Parisian cafés. The fine food and convivial atmosphere wash over you, making for a deeply relaxing experience. Fusion food, Italian or Middle Eastern are just a few of the choices you have. Perhaps you would like the fresh fish of an island nation? Clear-eyed and firm-fleshed, you will not find tastier fish anywhere. And, of course, do not forget the desserts, a specialty of the Middle East. Few eateries on earth grant such pleasure.

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A H O L I DAY D E S T I N AT I O N O N YO U R DOORSTEP


Bahrain’s archipelago of more than 33 islands has no shortage of entertainment options. By sea, you can sail, dolphin watch, fish, scuba dive or kite surf. On land, there are gyms and sports clubs, including rugby, soccer, cricket and basketball. Horse racing is a national sport and, for those who prefer riding to watching, there are a number of equestrian centres. Golf clubs include the 18-hole Colin Montgomerie-inspired course, and night golf is increasingly popular. Firmly on the international golfing map, our tournaments attract a number of well-known faces. Then if you really want to relax, visit our spas. For example, the Ritz-Carlton, Al-Areen Palace Resort & Spa, Sofitel Zalaq, Jacques Dessange and Kempnski Hotel will indulge you in 5-star luxurious beauty treatments.

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THE MIDDLE EAST’S HOME OF MOTORSPORT


Being the first country in the Gulf to host the Formula One Grand Prix, the Bahrain International Circuit is the home of motorsports in the Middle East. In addition to this series of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the circuit is the venue for international motor races such as the Australian V8 Supercars, Caterham G7 and GP2 Asia championships. A natural venue for corporate hospitality and entertainment, the track attracts more than 400 events each year. You can be a racing driver for an hour or two yourself, either on or off track. Off-road enthusiasts enjoy the region’s leading 4x4 course, with a fleet of Land Rovers. And for both hardened enthusiasts and aspiring youngsters, there is the Viva Karting Circuit.

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WHY BAHRAIN?


“HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HAVE DISCOVERED THE ADVANTAGES OF BAHRAIN.”

Bahrain’s central location means you have great access to the rest of the Gulf. Neighbouring Saudi Arabia is a thirtyminute drive from Manama, Oman and Dubai are just a short hop away, perfect for a luxury weekend getaway. You can also easily jet off to Jordan and Thailand for longer breaks. The national carrier, Gulf Air, shuttles passengers continually around the region and beyond.

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Bahrain has it all. Be it friendly people, a vibrant atmosphere, a rich culture or good food. This oasis offers: • Authentic culture • World-class schools • Sophisticated national & international cuisines • Café culture unique to the region • The lowest cost of urban living in the Gulf • First in the Gulf to start female and male education • Thriving arts scene • Open and liberal lifestyle, with a vibrant social life mixing expats and Bahrainis • UNESCO World Heritage sites at the Bahrain Fort and Pearl Route • Comprehensive public healthcare system • Freedom of worship • Shopping at world-class malls offering international brands


ASK YOUR FRIENDS But don’t just listen to us - ask your friends and colleagues. Expats love Bahrain, so much so that you recently voted our islands the best place to live in the Gulf.

Dubai

1 hr

Muscat 1.5 hrs Paris

7 hrs

Athens 4 hrs London 7 hrs Bangkok 7 hrs Cairo

3 hrs

Frankfurt 7.5 hrs

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About the Economic Development Board The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) is a dynamic public agency with the overall responsibility for attracting inward investment into Bahrain and supporting initiatives that help enhance the investment climate in the country. The role of the EDB is to work with current and prospective investors, ensuring that Bahrain’s investment climate is attractive, and identifying its key strengths and where opportunities exist for further economic growth through investment. The EDB focuses on several economic sectors that capitalise on Bahrain’s competitive advantages and provide significant investment opportunities. These sectors include financial services, professional services, manufacturing, ICT, logistics and transportation. The financial services sectors is particularly strong in Bahrain, accounting for the largest proportion of GDP, and the EDB works to support the continued growth of the banking industry and key sub-sectors,

including Islamic finance, wealth management, asset management, insurance and re-insurance. The Bahrain EDB Board is chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister, and includes representatives of the Bahraini Government and private sector. So what does this mean for you? • We offer a practical facilitation service for first-time investors, and on-going support to businesses already here. • We act as your first point of contact in the Kingdom. • We do our best to understand your objectives and respond to them efficiently, providing all the information you need to set up your business quickly and smoothly. In short, we are here to help you. Welcome to Bahrain.


Contact Us For all investment inquiries, please email us at invest@bahrainedb.com or visit www.bahrainedb.com You can also call us at +973 175 89 969 for general inquiries, or at +973 175 89 675 for Financial Services. Our business hours are Sunday-Thursday, 8am-4pm (GMT+3) For more information on the Kingdom of Bahrain, visit www.bahrain.com

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Living in Bahrain