Vivian

Overlooking PetraWelcome to Petra; the ancient city located in the middle eastern Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The Bedoul tribes of bedouin have lived in and around Petra for six generations and consider themselves the guardians and protectors of Petra.

The Nabataean people lived and ruled in this region of the middle east 2000 years ago. They created facades with interior rooms and a few buildings from the soft stone of the multicolored cliffs of Petra in southern Jordan's high desert landscape (as well as in other locations in the region).

The Nabataeans, the original creators of Petra, built cities along the trade route from Damascus down to the southern point of the Arabian peninsula. Petra stands at the intersection of one of the great east/west trade routes from the Mediterranean Sea to the Silk Road and the north/south frankincense route from Damascus to Oman. Petra was probably first seen by western travelers when European Crusaders, under King Baldwin I, built a castle fortress at Petra in the early 12th century. The Crusaders surrendered their Petra fortress to Salah ad-Din (Saladin) in 1189. Johann Ludwig Burckhardt was the first westerner to see Petra when he had a surreptitous peek of Petra while traveling in the region in 1812. Travelers from the West then began to trickle in for both scientific exploration as well as leisure travelers.

Today, the five Bedoul bedouin tribes still live and graze their herds around the ancient site.

Until recently the five Bedoul bedouin tribes led a pastoral life at Petra. They lived in the 2000 year old perfectly rectilinear rooms they call caves or in tents during the warmer weather. They grew a few crops, grazed their herds of goats and some sheep and had the skills that many in the west have recently come to re-examine and value and emulate. Climbing, weaving, making bread, yoghurt and other staples from their own fields and animals were part of the annual cycle of the seasons. On a ridge just north of the ancient site lies Umm Sayhun, the village that the Jordanian government built. The government offered and encouraged the Bedul to move into homes built for them at the edge of Petra in the Um Sayhun village in the mid-1980's. Many families still own goats and sheep and in summertime they still graze the herds walking and climbing long distances among the sometimes treacherous cliffs. Young children learn survival and navigational skills while tending their familys herd. An occasional family tent may be seen at the edges of Petra and also in Um Sayhun when a big wedding or party is planned.
Vivian's photographs reveal the majesty of the former city of Petra and the environment in which the Bedoul bedouin live and work. In the 20 plus years that Vivian has been photographing the Bedoul, her friends and acquaintances have become accustomed to modern conveniences and modern life.

Now tourists and travelers from every continent come to Petra to visit the "Rose Red City, Half as Old as Time." A few are lucky to make the acquaintance of a Bedoul guide or cafe owner and are invited to a wedding or an evening's dinner at home in Um Sayhun or a tent in a wadi or field near some majestic cliffs where the outlines of steps made by the Nabataeans are still used for climbing.

Links

Married To a Bedouin

The American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR)

Bibliography

"Holy Qur-an: English translation of the meanings and Commentary."

Abu-Hakima, A. M. (1983). The modern history of Kuwait, 1750-1965. London, Luzac & Co.

Aebi, E. (1993). Seasons of Sand. New York, Simon & Schuster.

Ajami, F. (1998). The dream palace of the Arabs: a generation's odyssey. New York, Pantheon Books.

Akbar, M. J. (2003). The shade of swords: jihad and the conflict between Islam and Christianity. New York, Routledge.

Bailey, C. (n.a.). "Bedouin: People of the Desert."

Beck, L. and N. R. Keddie (1978). Women in the Muslim world. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press.

Bell, G. L. (1987). The desert and the sown. Boston, Beacon Press.

Betts, R. B. (1988). The Druze. New Haven, Yale University Press.

Blanch, L. (1954). The wilder shores of love. London, Murray.

Burnaby, F. and P. Hopkirk (1997). A ride to Khiva: travels and adventures in Central Asia. Oxford; New York, Oxford University Press.

Burton, R. and W. H. Wilkins (1898). The Jew, The Gypsy and El Islam. Chicago New York, H. S. Stone & Company.

Burton, R. F. and D. Shumaker (1978). Tales from the Arabian nights: selected from The book of the thousand nights and a night. New York, Avenel Books: distributed by Crown Publishers.

Byron, R. (1982). The road to Oxiana. New York, Oxford University Press.

Cockburn, A. and P. Cockburn (1999). Out of the ashes: the resurrection of Saddam Hussein. New York, NY, HarperCollins.

Cragg, K. (2000). The call of the minaret. Oxford, Oneworld.

Cunninghame Graham, R. B. (1985). Mogreb-el-Acksa: a journey in Morocco. Marlboro, Vt., Marlboro Press.

Dalrymple, W. (1998). From the holy mountain: a journey among the Christians of the Middle East. London, Flamingo (HarperCollins Publishers).

De Gaury, G. and H. V. F. Winstone (1979). The Spirit of the East: an anthology of prose and verse inspired by the people, places, and legends of the East. London; New York, Quartet Books.

Dickey, C. (1990). Expats: travels in Arabia, from Tripoli to Teheran. New York, Atlantic Monthly Press.

Donnan, G. (1994). The King's Highway. Amman Al Kutba.

Doughty, C. M. (1979). Travels in Arabia Deserta. New York, Dover Publications.

Fernea, E. W. (1969). Guests of the Sheik. Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday.

Fernea, E. W. (1980). A street in Marrakech. Garden City, N.Y., Anchor Books.

Fernea, E. W. and R. A. Fernea (1985). The Arab world: personal encounters. Garden City, N.Y., Anchor Press/Doubleday.

Flaubert, G. and F. Steegmuller (1979). Flaubert in Egypt: a sensibility on tour: a narrative drawn from Gustave Flaubert's travel notes & letters. Chicago, IL, Academy Chicago Limited.

Fromkin, D. (1989). A peace to end all peace: creating the modern Middle East, 1914-1922. New York, H. Holt.

Geniesse, J. F. (1999). Passionate nomad: the life of Freya Stark. New York, Random House.

Ghosh, A. (1994). In an antique land. New York, Vintage Departures.

Gilbert, V. (1926). The romance of the last crusade. New York, London, D. Appleton and company.

Glubb, J. B. (1948). The story of the Arab Legion. London, Hodder & Stoughton.

Halsell, G. (1981). Journey to Jerusalem. New York, Macmillan.

Hansen, E. (1991). Motoring with Mohammed: journeys to Yemen and the Red Sea. Boston, Houghton Mifflin.

Harding, G. L. (1974). The antiquities of Jordan. -, Jordan Distribution Agency in association with Lutterworth Press.

Hobbs, J. J. (1989). Bedouin life in the Egyptian wilderness. Cairo, American University in Cairo Press.

Holton, P. (1997). Mother without a mask: a westerner's story of her Arab family. Dubai, Motivate Publishing.

Hopwood, D. (1988). Syria 1945-1986: politics and society. London; Boston, Unwin Hyman.

Hourani, A. H. (1991). A history of the Arab peoples. Cambridge, Mass., Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Hughes, R. M. (1989). Travels in the Holy Land. London, Merehurst.

Hull, E. M. (1921). The sheik; a novel. Boston, Small.

Irwin, R. (1992). The Arabian nightmare. Sawtry, Cambs, Dedalus, Ltd.

Joris, L. (1996). The gates of Damascus. Melbourne, Australia; Oakland, CA, USA, Lonely Planet Publications.

Keller, W. (1982). "Bible as History."

Kinglake, A. W. (1982). Eothen, or, Traces of travel brought home from the East. Oxford, [Oxfordshire]; New York, Oxford University Press.

Lawrence, T. E. (1935). Seven pillars of wisdom; a triumph. Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran & company, inc.

Loffreda, S. (1985). "Recovering Capharnaum."

Mahfuz, N. i. (1988). Fountain and tomb: hakayat haretna. Washington, D.C., Three Continents Press.

Mackey, S. (1987). The Saudis: inside the desert kingdom. Boston, Houghton Mifflin.

Mackey, S. (1989). Lebanon: death of a nation. New York
Chicago, Ill., Congdon & Weed;
Distributed by Contemporary Books.

Mackintosh-Smith, T. and M. Yeoman (2000). Yemen: the unknown Arabia. Woodstock, Overlook Press.

Miller, J. (1996). God has ninety-nine names: reporting from a militant Middle East. New York, Simon & Schuster.

Monfreid, H. d. and H. B. Bell (1946). Hashish. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, Eng., New York, Penguin Books.

Montagu, M. W. (1994). Turkish embassy letters. London, Virago Press.

Nerval, G. d. (1972). Journey to the Orient. London, Owen.

Nevins, E. M. and T. Wright (1969). World without time; the Bedouin. New York, John Day Co.

Ochsenwald, W. (1980). The Hijaz Railroad. Charlottesville, University Press of Virginia.

Osband, L. (1991). Famous travellers to the holy land: their personal impressions and reflections. London, Prion.

Philby, H. S. J. B. (1986). The Empty quarter. London, Century.

Raban, J. (1980). Arabia, a journey through the labyrinth. New York, Simon and Schuster.

Raswan, C. R. (1998). Black tents of Arabia: my life among the Bedouins. St. Paul, MN, Hungry Mind Press.

Rule, B. (1983). Everyday life in the harem. London, Blond & Briggs.

Rumford, J. (2001). Traveling man: the journey of Ibn Battuta, 1325-1354. Boston, Houghton Mifflin.

Seabrook, W. and A. G. Peck (1991). Adventures in Arabia: among the Bedouins, Druses, whirling dervisches & Yezidee devil worshipers. New York, Paragon House.

Selby, B. (1985). Riding to Jerusalem. Boston, Little, Brown & Co.

Settle, M. L. (1991). Turkish reflections: a biography of a place. New York, Prentice Hall Press.

Shar'awi, H. and M. Badran (1986). Harem years: the memoirs of an Egyptian feminist (1879-1924). London, Virago.

Shaykh, H. a. (1992). Women of sand and myrrh. New York, Anchor Books.

Simmons, J. C. (1987). Passionate pilgrims: English travelers to the world of the desert Arabs. New York, W. Morrow.

Stark, F. (1945). East is West. London, J. Murray.

Stark, F. (1952). The valleys of the Assassins and other Persian travels. Harmondsworth, England, Penguin Books.

Stark, F. (1988). The journey's echo: selections from Freya Stark. New York, Ecco Press: Distributed by W.W. Norton & Co.

Stephens, J. L. and V. W. Von Hagen (1991). Incidents of travel in Egypt, Arabia Petræa, and the Holy Land. San Francisco, Chronicle Books.

Theroux, P. (1990). Sandstorms: days and nights in Arabia. New York, Norton.

Thesiger, W. (1964). The Marsh Arabs. Harmondsworth, England, Penguin Books.

Thesiger, W. (1984). Arabian sands. New York, Viking Press.

Thesiger, W. (1988). The life of my choice. New York, Norton.

Thubron, C. (1986). Jerusalem. London, Century Hutchinson.

Thubron, C. (1986). Mirror to Damascus. London, Century Hutchinson.

Thubron, C. (1994). The lost heart of Asia. New York, HarperCollins Publishers.

Trench, R. (1986). Arabian Travellers: The European discovery of Arabia. London, Macmillan and co.

Van Geldermalsen, M. (2008). Married to a Bedouin. London, Virago Press

Vercoutter, J. (1992). The search for ancient Egypt. New York, H.N. Abrams.

Vester, B. S. (1988). Our Jerusalem; an American family in the Holy city, 1881-1949. Jerusalem, Ariel Publishing House.

Watt, W. M. (1972). The influence of Islam on Medieval Europe. Edinburgh, University Press.