Middle East

Middle East
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The Middle East is a world region in Western Asia and North-eastern Africa. The term was created by British military strategists in the 19th century, and definitions of the Middle East vary; it is not simply a geographical term, but also a Eurocentric political one, connoting that it separates Europe ("the West") from the Far East, and the traditional trade route of choice between these two extremes.

Population: 308,916,000 people
Area: 6,440,000 km2
Highest point: Mount Damavand 5610 m
Density: 47.9 people per km2
Number of countries: 15
Most populous city: Istanbul
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  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
  • Medium city 20-50 hotels
  • Small city 5-20 hotels
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Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Countries in Middle East

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The Kingdom of Bahrain is a Middle Eastern archipelago in the Persian Gulf, tucked into a pocket of the sea flanked by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It's an oasis of social liberalism – or at least Western-friendly moderation – among the Muslim countries of the region. It's popular with travelers for its authentic ... (read more)

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Israel (Hebrew: מדינת ישראל; Arabic: دولة إسرائيل) is a small yet diverse Middle Eastern country with a long coastline on the eastern Mediterranean Sea and a small window on the Red Sea at the Gulf of Aqaba (often called the Gulf of Eilat in Israel). Israel is bordered by Egypt and the Gaza Strip to the ... (read more)

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Jordan (الأردنّ al-Urdunn) is a country in the Middle East. Almost completely landlocked (save for a small outlet on the Red Sea in the Gulf of Aqaba and a frontage on the Dead Sea), Jordan is bordered by Israel and the West Bank (Palestinian Territories) to the west, by Syria to the north, by Iraq to the ... (read more)

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Kuwait (Arabic: الكويت) is a country in the Middle East. It is located at the head of the Arabian Gulf, with Iraq to the north and west, and Saudi Arabia to the southwest.

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The Republic of Lebanon (Arabic: لبنان Lubnān) is a small country (10,452 km2 or 4076 sq mi in area with 3.7 million inhabitants) within the Middle East region with its capital being Beirut. It has a long coastline on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea and shares a long land border with its much ... (read more)

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The Sultanate of Oman is in the Middle East, on the eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It borders the United Arab Emirates in the northwest, Saudi Arabia in the west, and Yemen in the southwest. Oman has two exclaves separated from it by the United Arab Emirates, the Musandam Peninsula and Madha.

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Occupying a small peninsula jutting into the Persian Gulf is Qatar, (Arabic: قطر; pronounced kut-ar) a rich Arab state to the north of Saudi Arabia, east of Bahrain and west of the United Arab Emirates. Many come to the Middle East seeking the mystic, traditional life of the Bedouins, wandering the desert ... (read more)

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Saudi Arabia is a Middle Eastern country that occupies most of the Arabian peninsula and has coastlines on the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf and Red Sea. Neighbouring countries include Jordan to the northwest, Iraq and Kuwait to the northeast, Bahrain and Qatar to the east, the United Arab Emirates to the ... (read more)

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The Palestinian territories consist of two physically separate entities, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and are not considered part of any sovereign nation. Though, since November 2012, the Palestinian Authority has been an observer-state of the UN, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip ... (read more)

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Turkey (Turkish: Türkiye) is on the Mediterranean, in the Anatolian region of West Asia, with a small section in Southeastern Europe separated by the Turkish Straits (Bosphorus, Sea of Marmara, and Dardanelles). With the Black Sea to the north and the Aegean Sea in the west and Mediterranean Sea to the ... (read more)

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The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven emirates on the eastern side of the Arabian peninsula, at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. It has coastlines on the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, with Saudi Arabia to the west and southwest, and Oman to the southeast and also on the eastern tip of the ... (read more)

Popular cities in Middle East

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“Istanbul was Constantinople. Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople” — Jimmy Kennedy, Istanbul (Not Constantinople), 1953 As the above, profound lyrics demonstrate, Istanbul is not Constantinople. It is however a city of fantastic history, culture and beauty. The most populous city in Europe, Istanbul ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Hagia Irene
  • German Fountain
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Spice Bazaar
  • Topkapi Palace
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385 hotels in this place

Dubai is a cosmopolitan metropolis and global city on the Arabian Peninsula. One of the ten most popular tourist destinations in the world, it is developing at an unbelievable pace, especially in tourism and trade. The most modern and progressive city in the Middle East, it is sometimes mistakenly thought of ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • The Dubai Fountain
  • Burj Khalifa
  • Souk Madinat Jumeirah
  • Grand Mosque
  • Wild Wadi Water Park
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1064 hotels in this place

“Istanbul was Constantinople. Now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople” — Jimmy Kennedy, Istanbul (Not Constantinople), 1953 As the above, profound lyrics demonstrate, Istanbul is not Constantinople. It is however a city of fantastic history, culture and beauty. The most populous city in Europe, Istanbul ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Hagia Irene
  • German Fountain
  • Basilica Cistern
  • Spice Bazaar
  • Topkapi Palace
  • 146 hotels

  • 7 hotels

  • 24 hotels

  • 34 hotels

  • 92 hotels

  • 82 hotels

385 hotels in this place

Dubai is a cosmopolitan metropolis and global city on the Arabian Peninsula. One of the ten most popular tourist destinations in the world, it is developing at an unbelievable pace, especially in tourism and trade. The most modern and progressive city in the Middle East, it is sometimes mistakenly thought of ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • The Dubai Fountain
  • Burj Khalifa
  • Souk Madinat Jumeirah
  • Grand Mosque
  • Wild Wadi Water Park
panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners

Points of Interest in Middle East

Hagia Irene - Istanbul

Church of the Holy Sepulchre - Jerusalem

Clock Tower - Antalya

The Dubai Fountain - Dubai

Pamukkale Thermal Pools - Denizli

Masjid al-Haram - Mecca

Al-Masjid al-Nabawi - Medina

Konak Square - Izmir

Meydan Camii - Kayseri

Bodrum Castle - Bodrum

Jaffa Port - Tel Aviv

Uchisar Castle - Nevsehir

Roman Theatre - Ankara

Alaeddin Mosque - Konya

Clock Tower - Beirut

Bedesten - Edirne

panoramio Photos are copyrighted by their owners

About Middle East

Background

As one of the wellsprings of human civilisation in the ancient and medieval worlds, the birthplace of several world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bahai faith) and an area of much modern economic and political importance, the Middle East remains a popular destination for travellers.

Ethnically, the region is extremely mixed. Arabs, Persians, Turks and Jewish people are the largest groups, but there are several substantial minorities — Kurds, Armenians and others — with their own languages, customs and sometimes their own countries. Every invading army — from Alexander and the Romans through Genghis Khan to the 19th century colonial powers — has left descendants behind. There are also substantial numbers of workers from other countries coming to the region for higher pay — mainly Afghan, Pakistani for jobs like construction labourer, with Egyptians, Filipinos, more Pakistanis, and some westerners in the more skilled jobs.

Every country in the Middle East has a Muslim majority (with the notable exception of Israel which has a Jewish majority), with Iran, Iraq and Bahrain mainly Shia, other areas mainly Sunni, and both with minorities of the other — and the legal systems in most of these countries are influenced by Islamic Law; a few are entirely based on it.

Middle Eastern politics is controversial, incredibly complex, often violent and rapidly changeable. Indeed, it is not usually advisable for tourists to engage in political discussion with strangers. The Middle East is one of the most important geopolitical regions in the world. The world's largest oil reserves, conflicts that date back to the dawn of civilization and religious tensions can make the Middle East seem dangerous. While Syria and Yemen are currently out of bounds, In reality, the news reports do not reflect the day to day reality of people going about their normal lives in relative peace.

Cultural geography

North Africa is similar to the Middle East in many ways — language, religion, culture and some ethnic groups. Some writers include Egypt, or even Sudan and Libya, in their use of the term "Middle East".

On the other side, Central Asia also has much in common with the Middle East. Ethnic groups and languages are different, but the religion, much of the food, clothing, and architecture are similar. Iran could be counted as part of either region; at one point most of Central Asia was part of the Persian Empire.

The border between southeastern Europe and the Middle East is also unclear. Many writers include Turkey in their usage of "Middle East" and we include it above, but parts of Turkey are very much European. Large parts of Turkey and all of Lebanon and Israel are also clearly Mediterranean regions. On the other hand, several countries usually considered European — Greece, Cyprus and to some extent the Balkans — also have Middle Eastern aspects to their culture.

Food

Cookery provides obvious evidence of the extent of Middle Eastern influence. Turkish doner kebab, Greek gyros and the shawarma of the Arab countries (everywhere from Oman to Morocco) are all basically the same dish.These are also seen in Central Asia and even China. A traveller going overland from Europe to India will find very similar dishes — notably flat breads and kebabs — in every country from Greece to India. There is a strong theme of fresh, wholesome ingredients. Meat (except pork) is very popular, as are vegetables such as eggplant, chick peas and tomatoes.Many Greek dishes are closer to Iranian cooking than to Italian.

Drinks

Turkish Coffee, served in small cups is popular throughout the region. Black tea is ubiquitous in Gulf states. As a predominately Muslim region, alcohol is rare. Alcohol is banned in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, alcohol will often be confiscated at the airport if found and is not generally found except in some hotels catering for foreigners.

On the other hand, alcohol is available in Turkey, Lebanon and Israel. Numerous beers are available, as is the stronger Arak, an aniseed liquor.

Shopping

The Middle East is famous for its markets or Souqs. Souqs sell a dizzying array of goods, but each will have it's own speciality, be it spices or carpets. Notable example include Jerusalem, Damascus and Dubai. Quality varies enormously. Many souqs sell good quality products, but many sell a range of fake or tacky souvenirs. Over-pricing for tourists is common but this can often be bargained for.

Haggling

Haggling or bargaining is common across the Middle East. However, it's usage is rather complex. In general, haggling is common in markets, but only for certain items. For instance, haggling for souvenirs is acceptable, but not acceptable for food. Also, haggling in shops with fixed prices such as a supermarket is not done. However, in independent stores it may be possible to negotiate a deal if buying multiple or expensive items e.g. Jewellry. Haggling can be a tiresome and seem like a pointless ritual. It is important to remember that the seller merely wants to maximise their profits. Walking away from an unacceptable deal is considered normal and can prevent pressure selling.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Middle East on Wikivoyage.

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