Thesiger's Journeys in Arabia - Asir, Saudi Arabia 1945

2004_130_31631_1-O2004_130_31631_1-OJourney dates: May 19 – June 3, 1945

Wilfred Thesiger started his first major Arabian journey in 1945, when he accepted a position as a researcher with the British Middle East Anti-Locust Unit (MEALU). Based near the port city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Thesiger undertook three locust-monitoring trips across the Arabian Peninsula between April and June 1945. For his second journey of the season, Thesiger engaged local guides to help him navigate through the mountainous 'Asir region of Saudi Arabia. Leaving Jeddah on May 23, the party travelled by motorcar up Wadi Fatimah into the city of At Taif, and then into 'Asir Province. In the 'Asir, Thesiger was captivated by the traditional rammed earth and mud brick architecture of the region. Thesiger visited Sawda, where he took many photographs of local stone architecture and views of terraced fields. Continuing on through the 'Asir, his photographs feature the large imposing tower houses of Qalat Bishah, and everyday life in the open air markets of Abha. Thesiger returned to Buraiman, near Jeddah, on June 3, 1945.

Locations: Jeddah, Qalat Bishah, Wadi Fatimah, Abha, Khamis Mushait, Sawda.

Named Individuals: None

Represented Cultural Groups: Harb Bedouin


Wilfred Thesiger, 1946. 'Rub' al Khali 1945-46', Personal Diary (Collection of Eton College Library).

Wilfred Thesiger, 1960. Arabian Sands, Longmans, Green and Co Ltd: London.