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04 September 2019 Bahrain Culture Authority Different Projects to Preserve, Manama’s city identity
Bahrain Culture Authority Different Projects to Preserve, Manama’s city identity

 

It is said that cultural landscapes are becoming important topics of study of heritage as an exploration of the morphology of the land resulting from the interplay between customs, cultural values and land-use practices. Bahrain Culture Authority has started to put this ideals into real-life projects aimed at “preserving the identity” of the city of Manama, its special character, its urban heritage, its social mix and its cultural, ethnic and racial diversity.

 The objective behind this lies in the strategy put by Bahrain Culture Authority in order to register Manama city on the World Heritage List, as an exceptional stereotype and model for the genuine authenticity of the area and its residents. This policy stems from BACA’s plan to protect the identity of the old city, enhance its unique  intangible heritage, human diversity and preserve this diversity with regard to ethnicity, races and cultures.
BACA seeks mostly to preserve the urban fabric of the city of Manama, a property which    comprises a variety of attributes that carry its potential Outstanding Universal Value including the souq area, merchant houses, shops, as well as public buildings like the customs house, the Bab al-Bahrain or the old court. Many edifices show foreign influences, such as the wooden porch that can be found on many residential buildings which originates in surrounding countries, or the various buildings of the modern era that exhibit characteristics of British colonial architecture. Not least because of its long history as a trade hub, Manama became a melting pot of different cultures and a place of peaceful religious coexistence. The latter is represented by over a hundred places of worship and a variety of religious festivals celebrated in the streets of Manama. The mixed ethnic and religious composition of Manama's urban population reflects the long history of immigration associated with trade and is also displayed in the topography of the town. Archiving the architecture Of Manama, which  reflects the heterogeneous character of its residents is also among BACA’s pioneering projects, alongside the historical houses around the Old  Souq, the most famous in Bahrain. Numerous of the facades and exterior decorations of the merchant houses, for instance, show more openness to the outside  world and a strong Persian influence compared to the more common introverted courtyard houses that can be found in the rest of the country. Religion was undoubtedly a very important dimension in the urban development of Manama. The residences of merchants and tribal leaders played a crucial role for the urban population demography.
During the year 2019, baptized  as “ a Year of Celebrations’ 2019” by BACA and carrying out its plan to revive the visual and aesthetical identity of Manama Municipality building, the first in the CGG region, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Works, Municipalities and Urban Planning, Bahrain Culture launched , last January, “ Manama Call”. The initiative aims to build up partnership with the private sector, the civil society and the local community in order to preserve the universal and architectural heritage of the historical city of Manama.
A preliminary urban survey conducted by Bahrain Culture Authority team of architects succeeded to diagnosis more than 80 exceptional historical buildings, classified as architectural heritage, transitional or modern urban landscape icons. 
Other projects also carried out by BACA include  the “ the Rehabilitation of Bab Al-Bahrain” project, sponsored by Viva telecom company for the Information Center and   Sh. Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa’s Office by American Express. Indeed, the landscape  has been fully restored to how it was when it was first built in 1949. The restoration works included rebuilding the main façade and removing some of the additions done to it during the mid-1980’s.
Bab al Bahrain also hosts the offices of BACA’s Communication and Promotion Directorate , as well as a permanent gallery in the ground floor to welcome tourists and visitors to Bahrain and provide with all the information they need to enjoy their stay. Bahrain Culture Authority reshaped and revived the Post Office building (former customs premises), in cooperation with the Ministry of Telecommunications and Transportation.
In addition, BACA’s “Cinema Yateem”  event was the fruit of  a collaboration between the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities and Mawane, coordinated with Yateem Family, aiming to revive the concept of open air cinemas in the spaces of Manama, screening a series of films related to architecture, humanity and identity.
Other ongoing projects by BACA include “Al-Fadhel Mosque minaret” restoration project, which is supported by Her Highness Shaikha Mariam bint Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait, will be renovated and designed as it was first constructed to match the urban architectural style of the capital of coexistence and cultural diversity. The  restoration and development works of Post Office and Customs historical buildings at Bab-al Bahrain area, in cooperation with Telecommunications and Transportation Ministry, as well the development of Government Avenue and Al-Khalifa Avenue, in cooperation with the Ministry of Works, Municipalities and Urban Planning. 
   

 

 

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