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07 September 2019 Bahrain Culture Authority Calls for the Preservation of the Kingdom’s Agricultural Landscapes’ Heritage
Bahrain Culture Authority Calls for the Preservation of the Kingdom’s  Agricultural Landscapes’ Heritage

 

Bahrain’s coastal Northern and Western agricultural regions, mainly located along the Qala’at Al Bahrain Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage List site, are facing an imminent threat of disappearance and extinction. The threat is threat due to various factors from urbanization and depopulation of rural communities, which has resulted almost in the total destruction and disappearance of many farms and green landscape between 2012-2019.
 
Despite its small size, northern agrarian areas have a universal cultural heritage significance because they stand as a loving proof of a deeply-rooted history of agricultural traditions and activities of water irrigation systems, developed by all the successive  civilisations of Bahrain since Dilmun times 4,000 years ago.  

Since the 3rd Millennium BC, Bahrain has always hosted a number of valuable ecosystems, all of which have contributed towards defining Bahrain’s identity, reflected in Agricultural landscapes , which are testimony to humanity’s long interaction with the land, often unique examples of people and nature coexisting and influencing each other. Many of these, are of great cultural significance having influenced the root of what is known today as Bahrain’s cultural and natural heritage.

Indeed, once known to be the island of a million plam trees with the local saying that one can see a palm tree from where ever a person stands on the island, the northern and western coastal areas are known for their fertile soil. For thousands of years, agricultural lands have been heavily cultivated with date palms and alfalfa plantations. Date palm farms are considered to be the most diverse terrestrial habitat on the island as it supports a variety of introduced and native species, including vascular plants, algae, insects, brackish water, fish and amphibians in addition to resident and migratory birds. A sharp decline in the total area of date palm farms has been noted due to the rapid urbanization of the northern part of the main island. Freshwater springs are recorded to have been highly productive whereby they irrigated the palms groves through flooding, however since freshwater springs have now vanished, these groves require surface irrigation whereas in areas suffering from water scarcity, these groves are now said to be desiccated.

 Therefore, Bahrain Culture Authority calls on all parties to preserve this agricultural landscape and green areas in cooperation with all the concerned official sides. In addition, BACA has made it clear that protecting these agrarian practises, dating back to thousands of years, through the designation of green area landscape borderlines, is essential and vital to uplift the Bahraini cultural infrastructure. This would also support Bahrain’s Culture Authority’s strategy to achieve a sustainable development industry.

Worth to mention that Bahrain Culture Authority organized the  national pavilion “ Archaeologies of Green”  at Milano Expo in 2015, which was a great opportunity for Bahrain to showcase its culture, agriculture and heritage on a global scale. With 10 distinctive fruit gardens, the Bahraini pavilion features archaeological artefacts that celebrate the millennia-long tradition of agriculture. The pavilion is relocated to be showcased in the city of Muharraq near Shaikh Isa Bin Ali House. 

 

 

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