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Volume 51, Number 3 May/June 2000

In This Issue

May/June 2000
Ancient Jordan from the Air
Written and photographed by David L. Kennedy

From the air, archeologists can spot subtleties and discern patterns invisible from the ground. Since the late 1970's, aerial archeologists have tripled the number of sites known in Jordan to more than 25,000, from the iconic ruins at Petra to mysterious walls that may have funneled stampeding herds toward spear-bearing hunters.

Beit Al Qur’an: Religion, Art, Scholarship
Written by Ni'Mah Isma'il Nawwab
Photographed by Hussain A. Al-Ramadan

Flanked by a world-class collection of ceramics, glass, textiles and scientific instruments, more than 5000 manuscripts from every Islamic era and land are the centerpiece of Bahrain's "House of the Qur'an," one of the world's largest permanent exhibitions of Islamic manuscripts. They illuminate the development of Arabic as well as the arts of papermaking, calligraphy and ornamentation.

Recited from the Heart
Written by Noura Durkee
Photographed by Eric Haase

The Qur'an was revealed and first passed on by voice. Today, its recitation is both a popular sacred art and a pillar of worldwide Islamic education. One of Indonesia's foremost reciters is historian and college director Hajjah Maria 'Ulfah, who recently gave her first us recitations.

Scents of Place: Frankincense in Oman
Written by Tim Mackintosh-Smith
Photographed by Ilene Perlman

The aroma that long ago wafted the fame of Arabia across three continents still permeates Omani life, but the tree whose gummy sap hardens into the finest frankincense grows only sparsely along the mountainous southwest coast, and finding it can be a trick.

Tripoli: Lebanon’s Mamluk Monument
Written and photographed by Dick Doughty

From Egypt to the Levant, exquisite stonework flourished under the Mamluk sultans of the 13th and 14th centuries. In Tripoli, Lebanon, however, the Mamluks went one step farther: They laid out a whole new city. Much of it survives today.