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11 March 2014 Minister of Culture Receives Royal Charity Organisation Secretary General
Minister of Culture Receives Royal Charity Organisation Secretary General

Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa received Secretary General of the Royal Charity Organisation (RCO) Dr. Mustafa Sayed.They discussed projects to revamp heritage houses while maintaining their traditional architectural designs. The paper focuses on sustaining the urban identity of Manama and Muharraq that goes' beyond the mere nostalgic romanticism to realistic futurism by employing a combination of observation and participation qualitative research methods. It aims to provide a holistic approach integrating between the various scenarios of restoration, new functional rehabilitation, in-fill and new development.

H.E argued that urban heritage in Bahrain reflects not only the values normally embodied in “monuments” (memory, artistic values etc.), but it also represents civic identities and the “living” expression of historic evolution. In recent years, urban heritage has also become an invaluable asset for economic development, mostly, albeit not exclusively, linked to the growth of the global tourism industry. Minister of Culture stressed that preserving the national heritage is a common national responsibility, pointing out the importance of Bahrain's cultural heritage in projecting the kingdom's identity. They also discussed mapping out strategies to boost the cultural and architectural heritage in Muharraq while preserving the town's historical value and identity. They also agreed to hold a monthly meeting to coordinate efforts in this regard.

Bahrain seeks to revive its erstwhile cultural and architectural charm by bringing some representative buildings back to life. For UNESCO, H.E argued cultural heritage is about the identity of a particular people and place over time, and it is about the belonging that binds us all together as members of a common humanity. Culture is dynamic.
Dr. Mustafa Sayed , Secretary General of the Royal Charity Organisation (RCO), praised the work of the Minister of Culture, adding that having previously worked with Bahrain's ministry of information where her responsibilities involved setting up a museum at the site of the Bahrain Fort and being involved with the Bahrain National Museum, H.E Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammad Al Khalifa, now Minister of Culture, has proceeded to restore the houses in traditional Bahraini architectural style while being sensitive towards adapting them to contemporary use. The well-preserved and maintained houses are, therefore, not just museums showcasing heritage and housing historical objects, they also function as contemporary cultural spaces, making them relevant to the community in more ways than one.

Indeed, apart from the obvious attention paid to restoration of the houses, three of the buildings have been upgraded with innovative features, such as skylights, which insulate open areas in the houses from heat and allow them to be air-conditioned while doing justice to their traditional courtyard layout.

Participation in the 43rd Fine Arts Exhibition Bahrain Map