Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Walk Through Muharraq

Alrighty... I'm back.

Apologizes for all of you who've been eagerly waiting for another immensely smart and witty post.
I've been incredibly busy showing a good friend of mine around 'The Island'!

I must admit that even though I've lived here for years I hadn't been to most of the places I somehow heard about through friends who do this sort of thing all the time.

Up until recently, my tour of Bahrain to friends consisted of the usual ..."To your left you'll see one of the oldest shopping malls on the island.... before that we did... well..... nothing.
And to your right a lot of new shiny buildings that were previously just empty desert.
Like here.... here.... here...
Oh and here.
So yeah.
Anyone up for lunch?"

Yeah.  I know. Disgraceful.  For someone who knows the ins and outs of the political, demographic and trend makeup of this island, it was one sad attempt. But the beauty of Bahrain is that everyone loves helping out, and it's pretty easy to find out new (or in this case older) things that can be done here.
One of the most intriguing places that I ended up going to was this quaint little neighborhood in Muharraq.

HE Minister of Culture Sheikha Mai did a fabulous job of restoring that area, giving it a more modern and elegant touch while restoring its old time charm.  She has managed to restore several of the older more prominent houses in the area, and includes The Kurar House (which focuses on Bahrain's phenomena embroidery), The Bin Mattar House (which looks into Bahrain's legendary pearling industry) amongst others.

One of my personal favorites include the Iqra Library which was specifically built for the children of the area, and has the most amazing interiors.  If you're feeling like the taking a break from the usual Seef District bonanza I highly recommend going to the House of Coffee, newly renovated and operated by Maya. Their dark Hot Chocolate is to die for, and the atmosphere is very enjoyable.

If you're interested in learning more about the initiative set forward by HE Shaikha Mai, a great article in TimeOut Bahrain published quite a few months ago talks to the Minister about her efforts to preserve Bahrain's national treasures.

I should run, but I promise to have some more things up soon!
Be safe,
LG

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