Bahrain showcases unique culture and heritage

Bahrain has launched the programme for its Spring of Culture Festival 2010, which runs from March 1 to 31.

This year, the Spring of Culture Festival 2010 will include performances from Grammy Award-winning Canadian jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall; Omar Bashir, son of Munir Bashir – one of the most famous 20th century musicians in the Middle East and one of the first Arabian instrumentalists known to Europe and America; Mohammed Abdou; the Italian Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio’s multicultural version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute; vocalist sisters Trio Tomb’s concert of Arabic and Lebanese song and Bale de Rua, featuring Afro-Brazilian music.

The family-orientated programme will also feature many more performers and artists from the fields of the visual arts, music and theatre and an expanded educational programme of seminars, lectures and workshops.

The event has something for everyone, including tourists from the region and beyond according to Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) which organises the event in collaboration with various arts organisations.

“Each year, the Spring of Culture Festival showcases the Kingdom’s finest cultural locations alongside a programme of international appearances. Our rich history and culture is at the heart of what makes our country so attractive to international business and tourism alike,” he said.

Bahrain has been particularly active in protecting its cultural heritage.  Manama’s Souq has been famous for hundreds of years; Qalat Arad (Arad Fort) dates back to the 15th Century; Qalat al Bahrain (Bahrain Fort) – once capital of the ancient Dilum civilisation – is a Unesco World Heritage Site; Bahrain National Museum displays archaeological artefacts spanning 6,000 years of Bahrain’s history and a restoration programme on the island of Muharraq – former capital of Bahrain – aims to preserve the Kingdom’s pearling heritage. This ‘heritage tourism’ is part of a tourism sector that today represents about 10 per cent of GDP. 

In 2011, Bahrain will host the first regional summit in 12 years of the world heritage arm of Unesco, which recently chose the Kingdom as its headquarters for the Arab world.