Bahrain to revive pearling to attract visitors
Published: Feb 17, 2022 04:05 PM
Bu Maher Fort of the Pearling on the Pearling Path, on Muharraq island, Bahrain Photo: AFP

Bu Maher Fort of the Pearling on the Pearling Path, on Muharraq island, Bahrain Photo: AFP

On and around the southernmost point of Muharraq city, close to Bahrain's capital Manama, a Pearling Path, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2012, is at its final stages of renovation to offer visitors by the end of 2022 a brand new experience of the Gulf island country's past glory built on pearl industry.

To date, 16 public squares, two visitors' centers, a pedestrian bridge and the rehabilitation of the Souq Al Qaisariya, the oldest part of the Muharraq Souq in the Pearling Path, have been completed, Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, president of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, told Xinhua.

"One of the main ambitions of the project is to promote a cultural tourism in Bahrain, as a way to celebrate the country's rich culture and heritage, both tangible and intangible," she explained.

Fijiri music, a unique form of singing practiced on board the pearling expedition boats by Bahrainis, is the intangible highlight of the Pearling Path, noted Al Khalifa, adding Fijiri was added to the UNESCO intangible heritage list in 2021.

"This special combination of tangible and intangible cultural experiences ... makes Muharraq a unique destination and will contribute to the growing cultural tourism sector in Bahrain's economy," she concluded.

In addition to the Pearling Path project, the establishment of the Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones (DANAT) in 2017 is the kingdom's another effort to promote and even resurrect Bahrain's ancient pearling.

Specializing in testing and studying natural pearls, DANAT has examined more than 10 million pearls since its establishment, an achievement that the institute announced in November, 2021 solidifies its position as the world's most prominent laboratory for testing pearls.

"With the establishment of DANAT, we have managed to boost the kingdom's reputation as the center of pearl trading and to position ourselves as the leading country in pearl certification," DANAT Chief Executive Officer Noora Jamsheer told the press.

Instead of oil and gas, pearling represents Bahrain's traditional national identity and had been the central pillar of the Gulf tiny country's economy until its demise in the 1930s.