Pearling Path | Muharraq

Client: UNESCO
Location: Muharraq
Architect: Bureau Bas Smets & Office KGDVS


“Pearling, Testimony of an Island Economy” has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in June 2012, which granted a global recognition to the significance of the site. The site has been inscribed based on a criterion, which is justified as ‘The ensemble of urban properties, fort, seashore and oyster beds is an exceptional testimony to the final flourishing of the cultural tradition of pearling which dominated the Arabian Gulf between the 2nd and early 20th centuries. Although the pearling industry has died, these sites carry the memory of its property and building traditions that it fostered.’


The project’s scope of work involved the development of Pearl Path Public Squares located at Muharraq, Bahrain. Including 17 public spaces along the Pearling Pathway with trees providing natural air-conditioning. TreeBuilders delivered the Tree Parker system for the requested “Firetree” tree species. Delonix regia’s abundant red bloom stands out brilliantly against the white environment. However, the age-old foundations are not resistant to the extreme root force of this tree species.


We sketched out a plan to make sure that these trees would grow healthy and quickly and produce a shady environment in the short-term without damaging their surroundings. In total – for 16 of the Pearl Path Public Squares – we planted 202 trees. These public spaces along with the trees improve the outdoor experience of the Muharraq streets while also providing a place for gathering, recreation, leisure and rest. The open spaces will certainly contribute to better perceived general health, reduced stress levels and more.


Visitors can embark on an exclusive journey through the country’s pearl trading history. The pathway narrating the story is approximately 2 miles (3.5 km) long and located in Southern Muharraq. Taking its visitors from the beach to the house of one of the grand merchants, the pathway is illustrated in the images and sounds of the precious history of Bahrain and its people. Essential tools to enhance the Kingdom of Bahrain’s position globally, and put it on the world cultural stage as a developed nation with well-preserved heritage and safeguarded identity.