The Arab black tent holds almost mythical status in the realm of nomadic architecture, and there are dozens of different variants. Possibly the best known is the nine-pole tent used by many Bedouin people, which achieves a balance between economy of timber use, a scarce resource in these desert regions, and the maximisation of useable floor area achieved by raising the whole of the tent off the ground (compare with the Tekna tent, for example where the sides almost touch the sand).
One side of the tent is traditionally the makhad, a place for meeting and receiving guests, the other is for family occupation.
Today, the tent is undergoing rapid change and many Bedouin are settling into small shelters mostly made from concrete block at tin. The region has become increasingly arid, rainfall is diminished and water tables are dropping, and the population is increasing rapidly. Many old tents are to be seen piled by these shelters. The nomads are unwilling to dispose of them, 'just in case' they should one day want to return to nomadic life.