Wilfred Thesiger and Sheikh Zayed

in a gallery in Al Ain

Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Mosque

It was interesting to visit Abu Dhabi on a tour from Oman and walk around the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. While its exterior is a brilliant white –its interior, in contrast,  is an equally brilliant poly-chrome . Almost overflowing with floral designs, the mosque sits opposite the old tower at Maqta which, some 50 years ago, guarded the ford to the island of Abu Dhabi .

Wilfred Thesiger Photo sitting in his Arabian Sands
Wilfred Thesiger Photo sitting in his Arabian Sands

Images of Maqta tower and the ford are included in an atmospheric galley in Al Jahili Fort Al Ain of photos by Wilfred Thesiger.

The visits he made to Oman’s deserts, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain in the late 1940s were recorded with ‘black and white’ photography. His traveling guides and companions bin Kabina and bin Gabisha are a focus of the images in the galley along with Sheikh Zayed. The gallery, with its natural earth tones and simple design, reflect Thesiger’s own yearning for austerity and focuses the visitor’s attention on the evocative images of his travels.


Author: Tony Walsh

Book author including the current Bradt guide to Oman – edition 4

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