Amongst the energetic backdrop of the Muharraq is the hidden gem of La Maison Jamsheer, the former home of the Jamsheer family that has been transformed into the Bahraini-French cultural centre. Today, the house hosts various exhibitions of art, architecture and heritage, is a location for expert lectures, and serves as a residence for experts and postgraduate students.
La Maison Jamsheer not only comes with an exciting history of its own, but it has strengthened the bonds between Bahrain and France and has become a home away from home for the French community.
The house was built in the late 1800s and was bought by the late Saleh Al Jamsheer from Salman Mattar in the early 1900s. Saleh Jamsheer and about 15 of his family members resided here until the mid-1970s. Standing amidst the busy Muharraq Souq, La Maison Jamsheer remains as a representation of the old Bahraini way of life.
Constructed before modern technology, the house was built to accommodate the extreme climate: the top floor keeps cool throughout the summer heat, whereas the bottom-floor rooms stay warm in the winter. An airy veranda in the centre of the house lets air flow while a partition provides privacy.High ceilings are made of bamboo, and the walls are made of coral and covered with gypsum – using only insulating materials to prevent heat from coming through. The house also boasts another unique feature: built-in wall cavities that allow for cool air flow
Initially, the house was rented for an exhibition organised with the French Embassy and French archaeologist Dr. Pierre Lombart. Later, it was rented to a former director of BNP Paribas, and his affection toward the house led to the French community and Alliance Française forming a deeper relationship with La Maison Jamsheer. Through his connections and Alliance Française’s interest in revamping the house, the home that was once designed for living and sharing life has been successfully converted into a symbol of Bahraini heritage.
For more information:
Location: Muharraq, close to the Shaikh Ebrahim Cultural Centre
Phone Number: (+973) 1734 2682