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22 February 2014 Minister of Culture Meets Delegation from Muharraq Municipal Council
Minister of Culture Meets Delegation from Muharraq Municipal Council

Focusing on Muharraq historical urban and social heritage, H.E Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammad Al-Khalifa, The Minister of Culture, received a delegation from Muharraq Municipal Council, led by Muharraq Municipality director-general Saleh Al-Fadhala, Council chairman, Abdulnasser Al Mahmeed and Fatima Salman, a Municipal Councilor and member. The meeting discussed the Pearl Trail projects and the related urban plans foreseen by the City of Muharraq, in the presence of a group of heritage experts and urban projects’ specialists working at the Ministry of Culture.


The Minister of Culture started by praising the role of municipal members in boosting the efficiency of, and improving, municipal services in the Kingdom, stressing the need to coordinate efforts and policies to achieve ideal efficiency and better accomplishment of public projects. H.E said that “What we are doing together can be summarized in one sentence idea; we want to preserve the Bahraini identity, save and restore our heritage. We do not wish to replace these historical cities, change its demographic or urban characteristics, because they reflect the most faithful and genuine representation of our ancient civilizations”. The Minister of Culture argued that in examining the impact of tourism on the culture and environment of Muharraq, we provide guidelines for identifying and measuring the types of impacts - both positive and negative - that tourism has on the town’s heritage. In addition, we suggest how to derive an overall strategy that manages tourism in Muharraq in such a manner that tourism becomes a positive force for heritage conservation as well as contributing to the improvement of the quality of life of the town’s inhabitants.


The Minister of Culture argued that the project purpose is defined as the protection, conservation and management of this specific cultural heritage sites, by means of investing in high-quality facilities for the sustainable development, presentation and interpretation of and changing their use into cultural tourism attractions. As a result the project aims to achieve many things, such as proper conservation of the actual physical sites, upgraded sustainable visitor attractions, accessibility to all sites, better understanding of the sites’ cultural and historical relevance and their context, and very positive contribution towards Bahrain’s cultural tourism product offer.


The Minister of Culture said that “This project is special and exceptional, given its historical importance, which resulted in UNESCO’s recognition of Bahrain’s Pearl Road as a World Heritage Site. There is doubt, then, that the project will benefit inhabitants and tourists alike in the future”.


The meeting discussed several topics pertaining to services and issues of concern to inhabitants of the Governorate. The meeting also discussed plans implemented by the Municipal Council and its future plans with regard to Pearl Trail, pointing out to importance of documenting the historical urban identity of the city. The Pearling trail or ‘Pearling: a testimony to an island economy’ is a 3.5km walkway that passes through the heart of Muharraq and takes visitors through the cultural and economic heritage of the island which revolved around pearling for centuries. Indeed, a number of historic buildings and houses are undergoing conservation. This site is important for Bahrain and the region as it retells the story of the pearling economy and culture which sustained the Arabian Gulf and forms an important component of its identity. The heritage site is a serial site consisting of 15 maritime, seashore and urban properties identified as most vividly reflecting key social, cultural and economic aspects of the grand narrative of Bahrain’s pearling activities.


The Chairman of the Municipal Council of Muharraq Governorate highlighted that the heritage and urban development projects witnessed through Muharraq city, including the Pearl Trail, the project of developing Qaysariya market, Muharraq traditional market and the other projects reflected the respected Ministry of Culture interest allocated to Muharraq city to preserve heritage and provide better living standards for the inhabitants.

 

Manama Capital of Asian Tourism 2014 Bahrain Map