Traditional Dhow shipbuilders of Sur | Oman 2014

Long considered as Oman’s prime trading ports, the calm and serene coastal town is the capital of Ash Sharqiyah on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. Sur has always been the epicenter of travel and trade in this region. Its vessels have ruled the waters since many a centuries! Its strategic location has always helped in maintaining and monitoring peace in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean.

Sinbad, the Pirates of the Main and trade from as far as China to the Mediterranean all had one this in common: the Omani hand made Dhows sailing vessels. Mark Abouzeid report on this important world cultural heritage takes you to one of the last remaining hand built boat yards in Sur, Oman.

Here is the video teaser for an upcoming documentary reportage on this important Omani cultural heritage.

Cedars in Air | Beirut to Balbek

On a snowy winter day, Mark Abouzeid crossed the mountains surrounding Beirut to visit Hezbollah stronghold of Balbek…and found a history of Roman conflict rather than present day.

The second installment of Mark Abouzeid’s journey to his ancestral home in search of his roots. This work as well as future footage from upcoming trips will be developed into an upcoming documentary film, “Cedars in Air”.

 

House of phantoms

On the Costa Brava of Spain in the town of Arenya d’Empordà lies an abandoned House, complete with a high tower filled with broken windows.

 

Local residents claim it was the house of a great fascist family who one day were destroyed by the same people they dominated. Apparently it belonged to a famous ballet dancer and was wrecked and ruined by the Franco fascist regime in 1968.

Mark Abouzeid took these photos in between takes of music videos being recorded in the Haunted House by Icelandic solo-artist, Oddur.

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Oman, the Grand Mosque

In 1992 Sultan Qaboos directed that his country of Oman should have a Grand Mosque.

 

The entrance to the Great Mosque in Oman.

The Mosque is built from 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone. The main musalla (prayer hall) is square (external dimensions 74.4 x 74.4 metres) with a central dome rising to a height of fifty metres above the floor. The dome and the main minaret (90 metres) and four flanking minarets (45.5 metres) are the mosque’s chief visual features.

The main musalla can hold over 6,500 worshippers, while the women’s musalla can accommodate 750 worshipers. The outer paved ground can hold 8,000 worshipers and there is additional space available in the interior courtyard and the passageways, making a total capacity of up to 20,000 worshipers. (Wikipedia)

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The Bedu of Wadi Rum: A culture at risk.

How do you capture the entire character of a culture that has no written record, has lived for centuries in relative isolation and exists in complete harmony with one of the world’s most extreme environments?

 

National Geographic

Bedouin reside in every principal country in the region.

Unlike most indigenous tribes who eventually get displaced by immigrants, the Bedouin represent the common heritage of the Arab people. By understanding their history and culture, we can better understand the middle east, overall. The knowledge, wisdom and history that is at risk forms the historical foundation of all Arab people’s.

The Bedu have maintained a quasi nomadic quasi sedentary existence for centuries living in equilibrium with their surroundings, integrating into their host countries while never losing their own identity.

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Is there a choice for Wadi Rum’s Unesco bid?

Over the past few weeks, much has been said about the latest bid by archaeologists, government officials and tourism experts to have Wadi Rum  admitted to a prestigious group of natural heritage sites named UNESCO.

 

There can be little question that the protected zone’s unique landscapes, natural rock formations, flora and fauna justify warrant inclusion on the list.

That it remains in question whether the bid should be a single site application or mixed site, including cultural and environmental importance, is surprising.

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Safeguarding the World’s Intangible Cultures at Risk.

“When a child is born, the father goes into the desert in search of the largest scorpion he can find.  The eldest woman slowly cooks the animal in a pan over an open fire until it melts like butter.  This salve is massaged into the skin of the baby.  The baby gets sick as a consequence of the scorpion venom but not enough to do it harm.  I was bitten by a scorpion a few years ago and nothing happened.  This is one of the traditional medicines of our people that is being lost.”  Attayak

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The Bedouin Heritage Project Launch

Mark Abouzeid announced, today, the founding of the Bedouin Heritage Project. Our goal is to help realize the dream set forth by UNESCO in helping safeguard and protect Intangible Cultural heritages, in this case the Bedouin’s of Jordan’s Wadi Rum Protected Zone.

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