Sunday, 23 August 2009

Follow the Frankincense Trail on BBC 2

This coming Thursday 27 August, BBC 2 are showing part 1 of Kate Humble's The Frankincense Trail. Here's what the Beeb has to say about the programme:

Intrepid presenter Kate Humble follows the ancient frankincense trade route of Arabia across the amazing modern world of the Middle East in this documentary series. Her journey along the 2,000-mile trail that first connected the Arab world with the West takes Kate on a quest that's steeped in history, searing with desert heat, and full of characters and adventure.

For 3,000 years before the birth of Christ frankincense was more valuable than gold. Its sweet smelling aromatic smoke was treasured by Pharaohs and Caesars, and their insatiable demand for frankincense created a trade route from the southern coast of Oman to the Holy Lands. Vast camel caravans carried thousands of tonnes of frankincense over tribal lands - known today as Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Palestine. Following the trail across these seven nations, Kate finds modernity coexisting with ancient traditions as she discovers what it means to be a Western woman in Arabia.

Kate begins her epic journey following high in the hills of southern Oman. With her own supply of the precious resin she walks with the Al Mahri tribe - the descendants of the ancient traders - and their 300 camels along the original trail through the scorching Empty Quarter desert. Crossing into Yemen, Kate arrives at the world's first skyscraper city, where her frankincense is used at the ritual blessing of a newborn baby. From the modern frankincense trade capital of Aden to an incredible camel jumping contest, Kate journeys north and enters the mysterious Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

So why not tune in and watch this week? I know I will.

And of course you can find a potted history of frankincense in What is Myrrh Anyway?, which you can pick up here.


Anonymous said...

Kate and team arrived in Oman in June 2008 - a bit hot but cooler than it had been a few days earlier. I hope Oman and Yemen are liked by viewers

Jonathan Green said...

Hi ynotoman

Thanks for posting here.

Do I take it that you were involved in the production of the programme?