10+ things to explore

Now that more and more people are staying indoor to flatten the curve of the current pandemic, the question arises what to do after the house has been cleaned, all your cabinets rearranged and bingewatching starts to get boring? I have compiled a list of resources for you that will bring the world to you! Especially the last suggestion might also be helpful for families: pencil in some time each day to study an artwork or visit a famous museum or site together.

Sidestone Press has an online treasure trove of books. They publish on nearly everything: archaeology, anthropology and history for example, but also linguistics, architecture, religious studies, psychology...This is a book about engraved gems for example, this study about demons and illnesses in the Ancient Near East might come in handy these days, read about ancient Carthage or about the baffling interconnectivity of the Silk Road in the Bronze Age.

And the best thing is: all their books can be read online for free. You do not need an e-reader, a subscription or your credit card: just click on the title and select 'Read online for free'. It's like an endless library full of the latest research: there are currently 59 webpages of titles available, so there must be something to delve into with a pot of tea!

Pink Jinn is the place to go for anything related to the Middle East. You'll find recipes, reading lists and travel guides on the Resources page (among many other things), and on the blog you'll find even more titles, playlists of Arabic music, and many links to other inspiring pages. With all the beautiful photographs, it's like taking a holiday on your couch!

Documentaries on YouTube fill my days with learning. Here, you will find for example the BBC documentary The Frankincense Trail: Saudia Arabia, Yemen and Oman, the episode about Egypt, and Jordan (not the best sound quality, but doable). I also liked the documentary Scent from Heaven, which tells the story of oudh. For jewellery, I enjoyed the talk given by Marjorie Ransom on Yemeni silver jewellery. It also features her slides, so it's like being there in the room with her! Here is another interview with her. This is a short video on how glass bangles are made in India, which I liked because it shows how deceivingly simple the workshop its and how fast the process goes.

Google Arts & Culture also is very suitable for hours of wonderful entertainment! Here is a general overview of jewellery, with not to be missed beautiful items in the Jewellery Museum in Pforzheim (Germany), or enjoy this selection of rings, the wonderful photos of African jewellery by Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher, and of course the street view series of museums and other iconic buildings that allow you to wander through many now closed museums (or take that trip to Macchu Picchu while you're browsing). A personal favorite is the 10 Incredible Libraries tour, hardly surprising for a bookworm like me (and seriously, a library that doubles as a wedding venue? Yes please!!). And what is the International Space Station actually like...?

Stay indoors, stay safe, and enjoy browsing around the world!

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