Your passport to the past

Founded by the chronically nostalgic Fatima Mussa, Zamaaan is a visual, curated and crowd-sourced archive that sets out to trace the secret history of the Middle East.

The online collection, which now includes more than 300 pictures, is set to grow. The goal is to piece together as many family albums from the region as possible in order to create an organic, growing database of our personal histories.

The more submissions and stories that are collected, the more impact the project can have in shaping perceptions about the region. Everyone is free to dust off the old family album and submit their own memories here.

Istanbul, Turkey, 1973. The father of Dilara Aliye Sofie with his friends from university. He studied chemistry but it was always his dream to be a musician. He still plays music today.


Iran, mid-1960s. Nehjad, the grandfather of Parcia, is the man with the big hat. The teenager behind him is a family friend, Cyrus. The young kid facing the camera is Percia’s mother, Jinous. The third daughter in the family, she wears a boyish look because Nehjad really wanted a boy. The little boy behind her is her cousin Farzeen.

Lebanon, 1972. This photo was taken at the wedding of Jihad‘s parents in October 1972 as they were leaving for their honeymoon, right after their cocktail reception at Hotel Le Vendôme in Beirut (next to present-day Hotel Saint Georges, where the bomb that killed former Prime Minister Rafiq Al-Hariri exploded.

Baghdad, 1970s. Friends of Ishtar’s father lounging near the banks of the Tigris River at Baghdad University. This is at the Academy of Fine Arts, which taught film studies and fine art during the 1970s.

Abu Dhabi, UAE, 1982. The father of Hicham Rahma‘s back in the 1980s when he worked for the beloved children’s magazine Majid.

Lebanon, 1953. Jihad‘s aunt Lina Feghali in the old family house in Bsous, Mount Lebanon. This was before the house got completely destroyed during the Lebanese civil war.

Ottoman-era Syria, 1918. The maternal great great grand parents of Nabila in Damascus during the last days of the Ottoman empire. The medallion on the grandfather’s hat was given by the British; the necklace the grandmother is wearing was a gift from the British ambassador.

Amman, Jordan, 1960s. The grandparents of Sultan al Fayez in the Jordanian capital.

Bahrain, 1955. Khalid J. Alaamer‘s grandfather lifts the 1955 Bahraini Cup for the Muharraq Club.

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