Bahrain’s pearl project


Until a couple of days ago, I wasn’t even aware this place exists in Bahrain.
However,  a visit to Muharraq’s Coast Guard base revealed the excavations and restoration that have been going on for years.
The site is now in the final stages of completion and a new museum will open shortly. And this will throw light on the ancient pearling industry in this tiny island nation.
Bu Maher Fort was first built during the Portuguese occupation of Bahrain. Renovation works first commenced in the 1970’s, during which only some of it was rebuilt but in 2010, excavation works had the site uncovered until its original foundations and dimensions were visible.
The fort represents the first step on Bahrain’s historic Pearling Trail, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A dedicated visitor center, established next to the fort, houses an illustrated map of the Pearling Trail and models of the sites that can be found along the way.
The visitor center aims to introduce the public to the architectural character that went hand in hand with the traditional pearling trade, as well as highlighting its surrounding environment both within Bahrain and beyond, and building an understanding of the social components of that era.
The Ministry of Culture also now offers daily trips by sea from the Bahrain National Museum to the fort, which help shed light on part of the story of Bahrain’s traditional pearl divers and sailors, and enable people to re-live some of their experiences and sea expeditions.
This is especially so since the Bu Maher Fort and its coastline was the spot from which pearling dhows departed and returned many months later.

On a high note

A lone rider trudges past the ancient Bahrain Fort as the weather cleared after two days of incessant rain. The fort, said to be several hundred years old, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the scene of some intense development by the Culture Ministry to attract more tourists to the country.