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The Middle East just oozes history and tradition. It is not something hidden away in museums, but very much part of everyday life. Atmospheric historical districts, ancient but still ornate places of worship and grand palaces can be found throughout the region.
The enormous Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the intricate carvings of Petra in Jordan, and the curving lines of the Blue Mosque in Turkey show the true skill and devotion of history’s craftsmen.
Perhaps they were inspired by the breathtaking natural treasures of the Middle East. The landscapes range from dry desert lands through to scenic fertile regions and even snowy peaks in the winter months. The soaring desert creations of Wadi Rum in Jordan, the strange “fairy chimneys” of Cappadocia in Turkey, and the salty expanse of the Dead Sea are real highlights.
The Mediterranean coasts of Turkey, Cyprus and Lebanon offer great beach escapes while the coral and fish-filled waters of the Red Sea amaze underwater explorers.
Spiritual and religious sites play a big part in historical and modern day life. Especially Israel and Saudi Arabia receive many pilgrims to their holy sites each year, adding to the throngs of local worshippers. The many mosques, churches and temples are fascinating to explore with their ornate interiors that instantly make you forget about the chaotic world outside.
The Middle East isn’t all just about history. Its modern and busy cities cater to 21st-century demands with ease. Cities such as Istanbul in Turkey, Beirut in Lebanon, and Isfahan in Iran are great cultural and culinary destinations with vibrant populations.
Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is all about bling, from its shining skyscrapers to its luxury cars. Doha in Qatar and Tel Aviv in Israel are trendy and fascinating to explore.
To really blend in, take a seat in a café and order a fresh pastry to go with your small glass of sweet tea or strong coffee. Before long, you’ll be chatting with the locals, who are known to be among the most hospitable people on Earth.