Restoring the Pearl Route

DSC_4442 DSC_4440 DSC_4472 DSC_4437 DSC_4489 DSC_4468 DSC_4459 DSC_4464 DSC_4445 DSC_4452These are perhaps the first public pictures of the ancient Fakhroo Mansion, said to be around 200 years old, in the heart of Old Muharraq Town undergoing renovation and restoration.
The property, now in the hands of the Culture Ministry, is part of Bahrain’s Pearl Route or Pearl Pathway, the corridor where the pearling community lived once upon a time.
The pathway will cover around 3.22km in South Muharraq and will feature a natural shoreline and buildings where people of the pearling community lived, worked and prospered over a period of 5,000 years including residences, mosques, souqs, amaras or warehouses and Majlis – the places for special gatherings.
It will show the living conditions and roles of various people in the pearling hierarchy including the nukhida or vessel captain, the pearl divers, the men who delivered sweet water and food to the dhows out at sea, timber merchants and the medicine men.
The merchants who played such a prominent part during the pearling era will also be highlighted. There were two types – one was the ground merchant who sold his goods to traders directly and the second was the tawawish, the sea merchants or the ‘brokers’ of pearls who bought the gems directly from the dhow captains.
They then sold their pearls to the ground merchants or directly exported them, most specifically to Mumbai, India, which was the strongest pearl market at the time.
Of the many restoration works covers Fakhro House which will become a modern art gallery as well as a majlis and include a new community centre.
The property, after restoration, will host a new multi-media visitor centre featuring an artifact and video-audio documentation of the pearling era.
A special section will be dedicated to children for hands-on pearling experience and information. The two amaras had been used as warehouses in the past and sold mainly food items and dhow building equipment.
The centre will also feature a document archive with a comprehensive collection of records on pearls for researchers and students studying the subject.

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