Bahrain is an archipelago made up of 49 islands. The 16 Hawar Islands were obtained by Bahrain in 2001 after a lengthy dispute with Qatar.
Bahrain Island (Arabic: جزيرة البحرين) is the largest island within the archipelago of Bahrain, and forms the bulk of the country's land mass while hosting the majority of its population. Around most of the Island of Bahrain is a relatively shallow inlet of the Persian Gulf known as the Gulf of Bahrain. The seabed adjacent to Bahrain is rocky and, mainly off the northern part of the island, covered by extensive coral reefs. Most of the island is low-lying and barren desert. Outcroppings of limestone form low rolling hills, stubby cliffs, and shallow ravines. The limestone is covered by various densities of saline sand, capable of supporting only the hardiest desert vegetation such as chiefly thorn trees and scrubs. A 5 km (3.1 mi) wide fertile strip of land exists along the northern coast on which date, almond, fig, and pomegranate trees grow. The interior contains an escarpment that rises to 134 m (440 ft), the highest point on the island, to form the Mountain of Smoke, named as such due to the mists that often wreathe the summit. Most of the country's oil wells are situated in the vicinity of the mountain.
Manama, the capital of the kingdom of Bahrain, is located on the northeastern tip of the Island of Bahrain. The main port, Mina Salman, is also located on the island. as are the major petroleum refining facilities and commercial centers. Causeways and bridges connect Bahrain to adjacent islands and the mainland of Saudi Arabia. The oldest causeway, originally constructed in 1929, links Bahrain to Al Muharraq, the second largest island. Although the island is only six kilometers long, the country's second largest city, Al Muharraq, and the international airport are located there. A causeway also connects Al Muharraq to the tiny island of Jazirat al Azl, the site of a major ship-repair and dry-dock center. South of Jazirat al Azl, the island of Sitrah, site of the oil export terminal, is linked to Bahrain by a bridge that spans the narrow channel separating the two islands. The causeway to the island of Umm an Nasan, off the west coast of Bahrain, continues on to the Saudi mainland town of Al Khubar through the King Fahd Causeway. Umm an Nasan is the private property of the king and the site of his personal game preserve.
Sitra (Arabic: سترة or Arabic: سِتْرَة, also: As Sitra, Jazirat Sitra) is an island in the Central Governorate of Bahrain, just east of Bahrain Island in Persian Gulf. It lies south of Manama and Nabih Saleh. The island's western coast forms the boundary of Tubli Bay.
Most of the inhabitants of the island live in seven historic villages: Wadyan, Al Kharijiya, Marquban, Al Garrya, Mahazza, Sufala, and Abul Aish. The population is almost entirely Bahrani Shia Muslim, however some Indians and Pakistanis also live in the island.
The island used to be covered in date palm groves and farms, watered by several freshwater springs, and the island's economy used to be based on agriculture and fishing. Mangroves used to line the western coast, however they have almost disappeared due to development.
The northern section of the island has been turned into an industrial area. Bapco oil storage reservoirs are located in the south. Sitra is also the terminus of the 42-km Dhahran-Sitra natural gas pipeline, which connects it to Dahran in Saudi Arabia.
Several car and furniture showrooms also make up the new development on the island.
The Sitra Causeway connects the north of the island to Nabih Saleh and to Umm al Hussam (Manama) on Bahrain Island. A small bridge on the south west of the Sitra also joins Bahrain Island, near the villages of Ma'ameer and Eker.
The Sitra Club is a cultural and sports club for the island. Also, Sitra is the site of many school campuses such as Al Noor International School and Indian School, Bahrain.
Muharraq Island (Arabic: جزيرة المحرق) is the third largest island in the archipelago of Bahrain after Bahrain Island and Hawar Island. It is named after Muharraq City, the former capital of Bahrain.
There are several towns and villages located on the Island, including:
- Al Muharraq
- Al Dair
- Halat Bu Maher
- Halat Nuaim (connected by road)
- Halat Seltah (connected by road)
Bahrain International Airport and the Muharraq Airfield are also located on the island.
- There are three causeways connecting Muharraq Island with Manama on Bahrain Island:
- Shaikh Hamad Bridge: From Muharraq City to Diplomatic Area
- Shaikh Isa bin Salman Causeway: From Muharraq City/Busaiteen to Diplomatic Area
- Shaikh Khalifa Bridge: From Hidd to Juffair
The Hawar Islands (Arabic: جزر حوار; transliterated: Juzur Hawar) are a group of islands situated off the west coast of Qatar in the Gulf of Bahrain of the Persian Gulf. It is also a Ramsar site.
Despite their proximity to Qatar (Suwad al Janubiyah is only 1.4 km from the Qatari mainland at the peninsula of Ras Abruq, while Rubud Al Gharbiyah, the island closest to the main island of Bahrain, lies at a distance of 19.7 km to it), the islands belong to Bahrain but were the subject of a dispute between Bahrain and Qatar. A Hawari separatist movement exists in Europe but there is little evidence of support for their movement in the Hawar Islands. The islands were formerly coincident with municipality or Mintaqat Juzur Hawar (مِنْطَقَة جُزُر حَوَار) and are now administered as part of the Southern Governorate of Bahrain. The area is 50.6 km². At the census of 2001, the population numbered 3,875.
In 2002, the Bahraini government applied to have the Hawar islands recognised as a World Heritage Site due to the islands' unique environment and habitat for endangered species. This site is home to many wildlife species and a very interesting place for birdwatchers and divers. The Hawar Islands used to be one of the settlements of the Bahraini branch of the Dawasir who settled there in the early 19th century and on the main island of Bahrain in 1845 in the areas of Zallaq and Budaiya.
Nabih Saleh (Arabic: النبيه صالح) is an island of Bahrain in Persian Gulf. It lies in the Tubli Bay, east of Bahrain Island. It is connected to Bahrain Island and Sitra through the Sitra Causeway. This island originally, like Sitra, was covered with Farms and date palm groves, but now it suffers from mass deforestation. Most of the population is Shia Baharna.
The island is named after a Shia Muslim scholar, Shaikh Saleh who used to reside there. His grave on the island is visited by hundreds of devotees in the region each day.
Umm an Nasan island (Arabic: ام النعسان) is the fourth largest island in Bahrain, after Bahrain Island, Hawar Island and Muharraq Island. It is privately owned by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and is off limits to ordinary citizens. It is connected to Bahrain Island through the King Fahd Causeway. There is little development on the island other than two palaces for the King and some gardens. There is also a small population of black buck introduced to the island.
Umm an Nasan lies in the Gulf of Bahrain in Persian Gulf to the west of Bahrain Island, and to the east of the Saudi coastal city of Khobar.
Jidda Island (Arabic: جزيرة جدة) is an uninhabited islet in Bahrain. It lies to the west of Bahrain Island and just north of Umm an Nasan in Persian Gulf. It is connected to Umm an Nasan by a short causeway.
Jidda used to be the location of one of Bahrain's prisons. Majeed Marhoon, Abdulhadi Khalaf and several other political activists spent time in the prison in the sixties and seventies.
It later became the private property of Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and is currently closed from the public. The island has a palace, gardens, a helipad, a mosque and several other facilities made for the prime minister and his family, although the island is uninhabited and Sheikh Khalifa himself lives in Riffa, Bahrain Island.
The island is made of limestone cliffs. It is believed that blocks of rock cut from the island were used in the Barbar temple on Bahrain Island.
Umm as Sabaan (Arabic: ام الصبان) is an islet in Bahrain. It lies off the north western corner of Bahrain Island, near Budaiya village, and east of Jidda Island, located in Persian Gulf.
The island was privately owned by Shaikh Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa, uncle of the present King, Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa, and brother of Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. Shaikh Mohammed renamed the island after himself as Al Mohammadiya (Arabic: المحمدية).
In the 1930s, the ruler of Bahrain gave the island as a gift to Max Thornburg, an American oil executive from Caltex. He used it as his private residence and office.