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10 January 2013 Manama Old Souq Facelift Project Announced Bab Al-Bahrain will turn once again into a lively area in March, the Minister of Culture says

 Manama Souq traders may have a ray of hope as Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa unveiled plans to revitalise the Manama Souq during a press conference at the National Museum yesterday. It was attended by Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Compaty CEO Mahmood Al Kooheji, MPs Ibtisam Hijris and Ahmad Qarata, Deputy chairman of the civil committee for Old Manama Souq Development Project, Mahmood Al Namleti, many Manama Souq merchants, companies' representatives as well as many media figures and other officials .The minister highlighted the importance to preserving the old souq in Manama and maintaining the identity and architectural heritage through restoration works.

H.E Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammad Al-Khalifa added that two offices for the Arab and International Tourism Organisations will be opened to further promote tourism in Bahrain. Besides, an information centre will be inaugurated to inform the public about cultural and recreational activities. Indeed, Ministry Officials have been planning major facelift for Bab Al Bahrain, aiming to transform the area into a watery oasis. However, plans are on to hold an overhaul of car park area in front of the Suq, although they have not yet confirmed it. The Culture Minister asserted that the facelift project of Manama Old Souq will continue while preserving the historical identity of the place. H.E Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammad Al-Khalifa, Minister of Culture, stressed that Manama Old Souq Facelift Project will help revive the heritage sites which characterized the place in the era of late Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. The old post office building at Bab Al Bahrain will be transformed into a stamps museum. An Information Centre providing all sorts of cultural and leisure activities will soon be inaugurated, H.E announced.

H.E Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammad Al-Khalifa, said, "The cooperation of all parties concerned as well as ministries and agencies are needed to contribute to the actual market development in old Manama. This will help overcome obstacles faced by traders to ensure the continuation of their business activities." Coinciding with the launch of Manama, Capital of Arab Tourism for 2013, several select sites will be restored to its functionality. Offices will also be established to promote Arab and international tourism aside from the inauguration of an information centre about activities and cultural and entertainment events for the year. The minister said, "We need to focus on attracting tourists through the restoration of historic and heritage sites. We can revive popular cafes and restaurants that have been important to Bahraini heritage." Various specialty food shops will also be opened on t4th of January, such as Ice-cream Nacif" and "Zaafran Coffee shop" and Mohammad Bin Faris Band will celebrate their inaugurations.
Culture Ministry building restorer and Architect, Ghassan al-Shimali, also highlighted the efforts made to restore old buildings in the Manama Souq area and explained the Ministry keenness  to remain true to the old architectural facades of the day, without distorting the original heritage of the place. Unique style and coulour, simple strait-forward visual façades, harmonious shapes and heights and lighting will add beauty to the place, he argued. 

The Ministry's Exhibition Specialist and Project Organiser, Frances Stafford also gave a presentation for the upcoming March events. A cultural and arts festival in Manama Souq is expected to showcase a number of Bahraini designers and craftsmen who offer innovative and creative products in the field of jewellery design and handicrafts. The festival aims to restore the old bustling commercial life which made Bab Al Bahrain famous. Various cultural activities and musical entertainment, locally produced food, art workshops and art gallery displays will be organised at the event. There will also be a special programme for children.

H.E Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammad Al-Khalifa also hailed His Royal Highness the Prime Minister’s visit to Muharraq Maternity Hospital today, adding that she requested him to visit Al-Qaisariya Souq and he agreed. The visit was spontaneous and had a great echo among citizens, H.E emphasised. Many businessmen expressed happiness about the facelift project of Manama Old Souq, pointing out that their businesses have been affected due to a delay in completing the project. They demanded a committee to be set up to follow up on minor issues.

Participation in the 43rd Fine Arts Exhibition Bahrain Map