At least 4000 years ago foreign businessmen settled in Bahrain and, today, one of their settlements at Saar on the island's west coast is a tourist attraction. Cargo ships carrying both basic commodities and luxury goods passed through ancient Bahrain as they moved up and down the Arabian Gulf and beyond. In establishing the island as the regional trading center of the Gulf, the people of Bahrain were no strangers to playing hosts to foreigners. The tradition continues and today visitors quickly discover that the Bahrainis are a generous, open and gregarious people with a warm welcoming for foreigners. Bahrain offers a lifestyle that is cosmopolitan, safe, relaxed and unsurpassed in the Arabian Gulf. From beachfront villas to garden compounds and single bedroom flats, the price of accommodation ranges from US$500 to US$1500 per month. The atmosphere of Bahrain is ideal for those who wish to raise families.
Private schools adhere to internationally accepted curricula and graduates are accepted by western universities and colleges. The schools include St. Christopher's, Ibn Khaldoon, Al Bayan, the Asian School, the Indian School, the Japanese School, the Bahrain School; all of these offer an international baccalaureate programmer. In addition, for Catholic students, there is Sacred Heart and several mixed elementary schools.
Within the Gulf, Bahrain has become an entertainment center with concerts, sporting and cultural events. Events include performances by western pop acts, traveling ballet and opera troupes, Arab musical stars, plays performed by international actors and exhibition sports matches. Bahrain offers facilities such as a 4000-seat indoor theatre plus conference centers and major outdoor arenas.
Bahrain remained a protectorate of Great Britain until 1968, when the agreement between the two countries was cancelled by mutual consent. In 1971, Bahrain achieved total independence under the rule of the late sheik Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa who became both Emir (Prince) and Prime Minister of the then newly formed state.
Bahrain's modern-day history was an example of stability, despite the fact that the Parliament was dissolved in 1975. At the end of 1994, foreign-backed militants caused unrest in the state by attacking hotels and restaurants using explosive devices; the situation was contained and stability returned to Bahrain.
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