Permanent Bedouin Tent Near Liverpool Street

| 17 May 2006
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photo shows brown tent

Courtesy of St Ethelburga's Peace and Reconciliation Centre

St Ethelburga's Peace and Reconciliation Centre have built a Bedouin-style tent in the back garden of their premises in the City of London. The sixteen-sided building uses traditional Bedouin construction techniques and is covered in goat skins.

photo shows tent interior

Courtesy of St Ethelburga's Peace and Reconciliation Centre

Designed by Professor Keith Critchlow who has studied sacred geometry for many years, the tent was put together by craftsmen from several countries. The tent itself was made in Saudi Arabia, the windows in the UK, its tiles in Morocco. The rugs were made in places across the where wars are taking place.

The combination is of course, entirely intentional and reflects the central purpose of the centre, which is to bring together people of different faiths to talk and reach a better understanding.

The site of St Ethelburga's was originally an 11th century Christian church. It was almost completely destroyed in 1993 by the IRA's Bishopsgate bomb. Originally planners intended to remove the rubble and turn the space into more city real estate, but the site was saved, and the church rebuilt as a peace centre. You can still see remanants of the original building embedded into the reconstruction.

The site has longstanding interfaith connections - in 1861 the rector of St Ethelburga's John Rodwell, published the first English translation of the Qur'an

St Ethelburgas hope that the many events in their new tent will draw in new audiences. A 'permanent' tent nicely complements the very ancient main building whose near destruction is a reminder of the fragility of all things.

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