Station: [12] The Nomad Tent

Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob, Joseph and his brothers – during the period covered by the Old Testament, a lot of people had a nomadic lifestyle and lived in tents. It’s a way of life still occasionally encountered in present-day, in Palestine.

The lives led by the biblical forefathers and their extended families, the landscape they inhabited, the plants and animals that surrounded them, the adornments and cosmetics they favoured, how their world felt and smelled ...these are all things you’ll discover in this room.

On the left-hand side, you’ll find images and stories that will take you back into the world of the Old Testament – a world in which God revealed himself to humanity: as an angry angel, wrestling with Jacob, or as a burning thorn bush commanding Moses to lead his people back to the Promised Land.

The stories of the Bible are tales that appeal to the senses, populated by everything that creeps and flies, where things smell sweet and sometimes odorous. In here, you’ll find out about all those details. And if you’d like to rediscover some of the plants presented here: we’re growing a few of them in our little biblical garden in front of the museum!

On the right-hand side of the room, the appeal to the senses continues. Why not make yourself comfortable in a nomad tent!

Our museum tent is fairly small, only about a third the size of a typical nomad tent. But the design is authentic. The material is woven from goat hair. When you’re inside, take a moment to look up. In dry conditions, the woven structure is loose, allowing fresh air to penetrate. When it’s wet, the goat hair expands, the gaps close up, and the fabric becomes waterproof. Any rain stays on the outside.

At the entrance to the tent, you can see clay jars and grinding stones. How long do you think it would take to grind a kilo of grain into flour?

It would be quite a job! But in the evenings, when the flatbread was eaten by the fire and the old stories were recited, people no doubt forgot all about their everyday troubles.

All depictions: © Bibelgalerie Meersburg