June 21, 2019

Muharraq, Capital of Islamic Culture 2018

By H.E. Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of BACA

In 2018 Bahrain is concluding is cultural agenda celebration for Muharraq Capital of Islamic Culture, which we were truly honoured to have been selected by the Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), to represent an Islamic city from Arab world.

We have dedicated our many annual events and festivals to compliment this year’s theme celebrating Muharraq, Bahrain’s second largest city. Indeed the city hostedthe annual Bahrain Fine Arts Exhibition in its 44th edition, the 18th Bahrain International Book Fair, the 26th Annual Heritage Festival, in addition to the 10th Bahrain Summer festival.

Muharraq was once again revived as the intellectual capital of Bahrain by hosting a multitude of cultural and artistic programmes and thereby was visited by Bahrainis from around the islands, residents and tourists. This was truly a unique experience for both visitors and us as cultural practitioners to work from such a historic city, especially when most of the activities were taking place within the backdrop of the Arad Fort, which dates back from the 15th century.


One of the highlights of our year, which we are looking forward, is the inauguration of the Pearling Path’s Visitor Center. The center is the main information point of the Pearling Path, Testimony of an Island Economy, the second UNESCO world heritage site in Bahrain, which was listed in 2012.

In November, Muharraq witnesses a large gathering of international guests concerned with the importance of preservation of the heritage of humanity. No matter wherea cultural site may be geographically located, it is valuable as it completes the story of our shared heritage. Thereby, welcoming visitors from the region and elsewhere is a means to showcase our rich and authentic heritage and is a means to enhance our mutual understanding and appreciation of one another and in deepening our relations.

The story of the pearling path is a unique one, in which we recount through innovative and modern tools and stories those who walked the narrow streets of Muharraq.We created an atmosphere to transport the visitor to a different time to learn about our ancestors and the legacy they left behind.


The pearling path is a visual investigation and exploration to a time before the discovery of oil in the 1930s, it recounts the stories at a very specific period of time where the main actors of this unique socio-economic period was one of sea traders, pearl merchants, divers and other instrumental characters that made up the city at that time all tied together by the lure of the pearl.


Images by Bahrain Antiquities and Culture Authority (BACA)

City of Muharraq

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