Today we hear “Basra” or “Baghdad” and immediately think of bombs ripping bodies apart, blood on dusty streets. The Gulf has an other peaceful history too.In the winter 1903/04 44-year old privateer Hermann Burchardt traveled the Arabian side of the Gulf and took photographs. He was based in Damascus. Five years later he will die in an accident in Yemen; I could not find a biography of the man. After his death his nephew in 1911 donated the plates to the Voelkerkundemuseum of Berlin, today Ethnologisches Museum Berlin. Finally the gift received the attention it deserves and an interesting book came into being:Nippa, Annegret; Herbstreuth, Peter (Hrsg.): Unterwegs am Golf – Along the Gulf. Von Basra bis Maskat – Photographien von Hermann Burchardt.[deutsch – englisch]. Berlin: Verlag Hans Schiler 2005. ISBN3-89930-070-x; 232 S., 90 Abb., 1 Karte; 58,00 EUR.
You can find the German recension here, and have a look on this site about a small exhibition of Burchardt’s work in Sanaa. On Qantara.de, a very interesting site dedicated to the dialogue between western and islamic world (please see that there is an English version too!) you can find another text about the referred book. I am sure it is worth to have a look at it!