Bahrain the smallest Arab nation has many tourist attractions to offers its visitors. For every traveller, there is something from a shining horizon to cultural attractions. Also, there are many heritage sites for those who keep their interest in ancient history and architectural innovations. Bahrain’s Pearling trail which is also regarded as the testimony of an island economy is grabbing the attention of many people. This offbeat yet crucial heritage site is enhancing the tourism of the island nation.
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Bahrain’s Pearling Trail – An Overview
The Pearling Path is on Bahrain’s Muharraq island, close to Manama, the capital. Pearling trail or the testimony of an island economy is the historical landmark of Bahrain. It is a collection of historic locations linked to the extraction and trade of natural pearls. After the Bahrain Fort, this is Bahrain’s second World Heritage Site. It covers 330,000m² and includes oyster beds and buildings associated to the pearl business in the nineteenth century.
It is located in Muharraq, an island city that was the Gulf’s leading pearl trading port and a global player until Japan introduced artificial pearls in the 1930s. When the shimal breeze stopped blowing, the pearling season would begin. There was already a pearl trade in this area during the Roman era.
What Does Pearling Trail Consists of?
On June 30, 2012, the Bahrain Pearling Path was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The inscribed area consists of a series of 15 sites which includes –
- Three oyster beds in Bahrain’s northern waters, a portion of the coast and the seafront.
- Bu Mahir fort near Muharraq Island’s southern tip
- 17 buildings in Muharraq’s historical area connected by a 3.5 km visiting walkway.
Residences of wealthy merchants, shops, storehouses and a mosque are among the buildings here on the list.
Significance of Pearling Trail
The mansions and majlises of pearl merchants, traders and divers, as well as trading establishments, storage houses and the Siyadi family mosque, were all designated by UNESCO. The site is the last full example of the pearling cultural practice and the wealth it created at a time when the Gulf economy was dominated by trade.
It’s also an amazing illustration of the island’s traditional use of the sea’s resources and human contact with the environment, which shaped the island’s economy and cultural character.
History Associated With Heritage Site
The first reference of pearl diving in Bahrain dates back to 2000 BC in Assyrian manuscripts describing to “fish eyes” from Dilmun. Pliny mentions Bahrain as being “recognized for the large number of pearls it produces.” Pearling’s golden period occurred between the 1850s and 1930s, when pearls were more valuable than diamonds and drew jewellers attention towards Bahrain.
In ancient times, Muharraq was Bahrain’s capital and political centre, but older structures have been ruined. Aside from the pearl trade’s downfall, the region has been on the verge of losing several of its traditional crafts. But revitalization project has given trading of pearl a boost.
Also Read: Dilmun Burial Mounds – An Offbeat Heritage Site of Bahrain
Muharraq Revitalization Project
The revitalization of Muharraq takes visitors on a tour of Bahrain’s pearling path, demonstrating how traditional heritage preservation and architectural innovation can coexist. After the older buildings were revitalized and back in use, they attracted people from other areas of Bahrain.
The Muharraq revitalization project has boosted economic and employment prospects in addition to its architectural and historical significance. Bahrain’s historic and traditional crafts, such as Kurar embroidery, which was nearly extinct, were reintroduced. A new generation is learning these skills in order to earn their living.
Acknowledgement as Heritage Site
UNESCO added the Bahrain Pearling Trail to its World Heritage list on June 30, 2012. The site is the last remaining complete example of the cultural tradition of pearling and the wealth it generated at a time when the trade dominated the Gulf economy. It also constitutes an outstanding example of the traditional utilization of the sea’s resources and human interaction with the environment, which shaped both the economy and cultural identity of the island’s society.
Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities inscribed the site with the name “Pearling, the testimony of an island economy,”. Despite this fact the foreign media has continuously introduced it as the “Pearling Path.”
Presevation of the Pearling Trail
The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities set out in 2013 to preserve and recreate the spirit of this historic neighbourhood. It emphasising on its social and economic significance, particularly in relation to the historical pearl trade. The revitalisation initiative wants to make sure that any new building in the area is sensitive to heritage site conservation.
Conservation initiatives, new buildings and open spaces plans, as well as social and economic regulations, are all part of the revitalization project. The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities is maintaining the city’s public places, streets, car parking and facades as part of the project.
It is an offbeat destination for history buffs as well as travellers yet it is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Thus you can pay a visit to Bahrain’s Pearling Trail.
Also Read: Discover Ancient Qal’at al-Bahrain – Heriatge Site of Dilmun