Nuzul Al Salam: Restored heritage house and hotel opens in Bahrain with homage to Sheikh Zayed

The launch of the restored archaeological house is part of a wider collaborative cultural agreement between the UAE and Bahrain

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The newly restored Nuzul Al Salam heritage house has reopened as a hotel in the old town of Muharraq, Bahrain. The renovation is a joint project between the UAE and Sheikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Centre for Culture and Research in Bahrain, as part of wider collaborative efforts between the cultural authorities of the two Gulf nations.

Formerly known as the Fathallah House, the property has been renamed Nuzul Al Salam, which, an announcement states, is meant to celebrate the traits of peace, humanity and tolerance of Sheikh Zayed, the UAE’s Founding Father.

Located in the old town of Muharraq, it is the first hotel to form part of the Pearling Path, a Unesco World Heritage Site that connects several key components of the region's pearling industry. The building reflects traditional local architecture and modern Arabian design influences. Each of the rooms contain installations featuring quotes by Sheikh Zayed.

Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father, was an inspiration for the decor and theme of the newly opened hotel. Courtesy Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development

“I am delighted to see Fathallah House breathe new life again,” said Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, chairwoman of the board at the Sheikh Ebrahim Centre, at the official launch on Saturday. “The house has been a cultural landmark in Muharraq since 1947 and a key tourist destination for visitors to the Pearling Path, an important Unesco Heritage Site.”

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, the UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, who also attended the event, said: “It is the UAE’s honour to support the restoration of key cultural landmarks in the Arab world, especially in line with the Year of Tolerance in the UAE. As we open Nuzul Al Salam, we reiterate our collaboration and historic relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain.

“We share a common history and vision for the preservation of Arab culture and heritage, and Nuzul Al Salam represents our shared rich cultural heritage in the Gulf region and the Middle East.”

Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, centre left, next to Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, the UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development. Courtesy Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development

The restoration project is the result of a bilateral agreement that was signed at the Emirati-Bahraini Committee in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, last year. Ammar Basheir and his team of young Bahraini architects were behind the restoration, which strived to preserve elements of authentic local craftsmanship. The team also included 12 archaeology and architecture students from Zayed University, UAE University, Abu Dhabi University, Sharjah University and New York Abu Dhabi University.

Thematically, the building’s design is inspired by the legend of Gilgamesh, which is seen through its wall hangings and decorative floors. The courtyard also features a garden filled with lemon and orange trees.

A second building, the Green Corner, is still under construction and will open at a later date, which is yet to be confirmed. It will be transformed into a library that will be used for the archiving of the island’s art, restoration of significant manuscripts, as well as the preservation of books and paintings. It will be built nearby to the area’s vertical garden, a collaboration between the Sheikh Ebrahim Centre and leading French botanist Patrick Blanc, which contains 200 species of plants mostly from sub-tropical and desert regions, including the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, Australia and South Africa.

When the project was first announced, Al Kaabi said: “These houses will become platforms for the promotion of Gulf and international culture and art through seminars and festivals that contribute to the preservation of Gulf culture.”

The National is waiting for further details on how guests can book rooms in the hotel and current room rates.