Dhow Building Yard – Muharraq, Bahrain - Atlas Obscura

Dhow Building Yard

Muharraq, Bahrain

The last place in Bahrain where you can get a custom-made dhow. 


Despite its cultural significance and rich heritage, the Dhow Building Yard in Muharraq remains refreshingly unspoiled by mass tourism, retaining its raw authenticity and charm. Unlike many tourist attractions meticulously curated for visitors, this working shipyard offers an unfiltered glimpse into Bahrain’s maritime traditions. 

It’s not surprising the Dhow Building Yard is located in the city of Muharraq, an important settlement in the Bronze Age. Pearling and fishing boosted the economy of Muharraq for centuries, although oil production has supplanted more traditional activities, traces of these ancient practices are evident throughout the city, from historical buildings to charming forts and from busy harbors to crowded souks.

Dhows have been integral to the island nation’s economy, connecting it to neighboring regions and facilitating commerce for centuries. Beyond their practical utility, dhows are imbued with cultural significance, symbolizing resilience, ingenuity, and the Bahraini people’s seafaring prowess.

From the pearl trade that once fuelled the nation’s prosperity to modern-day fishing and tourism industries, dhows remain a symbol of Bahrain’s cultural heritage, yet this is the only active dhow building yard left in Bahrain.

Know Before You Go

On the narrow beach adjacent to the yard are dhows under repair or construction, dhow wrecks beyond recovery, piles of rough timber, and clusters of traditional and modern tools. 

This is a good spot for looking around and taking pictures without interfering with the artisans at work. It's possible to access other parts of the Dhow Building Yard, but this has to be arranged in advance as part of a tour.

This is an active dhow building yard, and caution must be taken when approaching the site. Raw materials, tools, unfinished dhows, and slippery slopes can be hazardous.

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May 16, 2024

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