Bahrain

Bahrain sits in the Persian Gulf just off the coast of Saudi Arabia. It holds the unique position of being the only island-state in the entire Arabic world. It is a main island with many smaller islands. An old Muslim country, it has Westernized features including unemployment insurance and the right for women to vote.  The country is also a popular spot for multinational firms. It is a financial center exporting its expertise, offering homes to banks and exporting petroleum products. This country has as its currency the dinar. It trades under the symbol BHD. The rate is 1,000 fils are equal to 1 dinar.

History

The country of Bahrain has had some form of currency since the 8th century The Umayyad Governors of al-Bahrain struck coins produced in the area. Between the 8th and 13th centuries, coins along this line cropped up with the weight being the important factor in determining value. There were also local coins or tokens issued by the various rulers, including the Abbasi Caliphs.

Bahrain also saw coinage bearing the approval of the Qarmatid religious sect during the 10th century. Later currency came from the orders of the Iranian overlords and the Salghurids in the 13th and 14th centuries. Huge copper coins circulated as local money. The 13th century saw imported coins as the norm, coming from the Chinese and the Iranians as well as silver from the Portuguese.

Between 1622 and 1718, the Iranian rulers provided silver wire coins called larins. The Omanis had their own currency. Bahrain coinage even saw a British-Indian influence during the 19th century. Indian coins in fact dominated until Bahraini independence in 1965.

The new coinage came into being as fils and dinar. In 1965, 1,000 fils made up a dinar. There were fis coins and dinar bills in various denominations. By 2003, there were 500 fil and 1, 5, 10, 20 dinar notes. There were also coins of 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 fil. Today, the system remains substantially the same.

Obtaining Bahranian Dinars

With Bahrain as a financial center, it is not hard to obtain Bahranian dinar. You can go to a bank or an ATM. There are also moneylenders. This is particularly true of the city Manama. It is not always applicable of the other islands. Check first to see where you can find local institutions.

Protecting Your Currency

Be careful when you are in tourist areas, commercial sectors and public places. There are incidents of petty crime such as pick pocketing and purse snatching. Do not enter the colorful souks alone. Be careful with your money in the poor districts, old market areas and in villages. Exercise care specifically after dark. Never flash your cash.

Using Your Dinar

Visiting in Bahrain is not cheap. It will cost you money and more money to remain there for your business trip or holiday.  Exchange your money for use in the marketplaces, souks and other attractions.

Travel Tips and Warnings

  • There is still possibility of terrorist activity, show caution.
  • Be aware this is a Muslim country. Christians and Muslims co-exist, but take care not to offend.
  • Avoid flaunting cigarettes or alcohol consumption during such festivals as Ramadam.
  • Dress modestly if you are a female.
  • Look out where you walk. Pedestrian deaths are high in this country.
  • Attend the Bahrain Film Festival in March.
  • Buy crafts from the Craft Centre in Manama or the Bahrain Arts Society.
  • Visit the Barbar Temple from the 2nd and 3rd millennium B.C.
  • Go to Al-Areen Wildlife Park, home to indigenous species of the Middle East.
  • Visit the famous singulkar Tree of Life.
  • Visit Muharraq, Hawar or Dar Island.

Overview

Bahrain is a Westernized Muslim country in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Saudi Arabia. It is a tourist attraction and a financial center. It offers traditional coffee houses and shopping in the souks along with beautiful examples of its memorable past.
For travel information, see http://www.arab.net/bahrain/index.html

Currency Summary

Bahranian (Bahraani) Dinar
100 fils is equal to 1 dinar
Coins: 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100-fils
Banknotes: 5, 10, 20 dinar

 

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