Home to 92,323 inhabitants, Muharraq is a pioneer city where the combination of history, art and architecture serves as the primary inspiration to revamp the urban life. With its Arabic character combined with international standards of modernity, Muharraq plays a very important role in the region. Cultural facilities and infrastructure are well developed in Muharraq thanks to continuous investment since the beginning of this century. The city’s cultural and creative industries, such as the traditional pearl jewellery design and calligraphy, are embedded and integrated into its contemporary city life and visible in the urban fabric. Architectural design and urban layout are other dimension of the city’s close connection to design, creating its unique street pattern.
Muharraq presents many opportunities for creativity through various public events, including the Spring of Culture and the Heritage Festival. During these festivals, workshops focusing on design, creativity and various forms of art are held, providing key opportunities for artists to share knowledge and develop new skills. These festivals also provide meeting points for a wide range of practitioners well beyond Muharraq, as well as serve to reskill Bahrainis, build cultural confidence and create synergies on an international level.
The development of the city intensively relies on the strong union of heritage and creativity. These two pillars strengthen identity and belonging within the communities, while helping face the challenges of future in a creative way. In the last decade, the Government of Bahrain has invested in culture initiative and has apportioned a significant amount for financial support to cultural investment. This has enabled Muharraq to become a city of many inspirational design projects, with effects reaching beyond the region. With this additional funding, initiatives including Studio 244 have been launched, providing co-working spaces and venues to discuss, elaborate and raise awareness on contemporary discourses in culture, design, art and knowledge.
As a Creative City of Design, Muharraq envisages:
- ensuring sustainable development in line with 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with the central theme of heritage and creativity;
- establishing partnerships with other creative cities and supporting awareness raising activities on a regional level;
- continuing reskilling Bahrainis and building cultural confidence through encouraging synergies between cities, countries, geographical regions, and between creative disciplines;
- keeping local communities involved and ensuring continuous communication between the creative field practitioners and local communities;
- enabling creative working spaces and ensuring the support programmes aimed at creative field practitioners and designers; and
- promoting public-private partnerships in the field of design through participation in the Dubai Expo, and the organization of the Arab Creative Cities Festival, among others.