5 reasons to fall in love with the Middle East

Happy Valentine’s Day!

To share the love, I’ve put together a list of the 5 reasons why I fell in love with this magical, mysterious part of the world… and why, if you haven’t already, you will too!

1. Natural beauty

The Middle East is home not only to vast deserts, but also to mountains, beaches, crystal blue oceans and lush, green oases. Its diverse natural scenery is among the most beautiful and dramatic in the world.

Culture Trip.jpgThe Dead Sea (image: Culture Trip)
HD Wallpapers Sahara.jpgThe Sahara Desert (image: HD Wallpapers)
Iran Traveling Center.jpegZagros Mountains, Iran (image: Iran Traveling Center)
Underwater reefs in the Red Sea.jpgUnderwater reefs in the Red Sea (image: Shutterstock)
Oman Travel Adventures.jpgSalalah, Oman during the khareef (monsoon) season (image: Oman Travel Adventures)

2. Architecture

The architecture of the Middle East is world famous, from old mud and stone towns to towering minarets and glittering mosaic-covered mosques.

Friendly Morocco.jpgMoroccan zellij (mosaic) art (image: Friendly Morocco)
UNESCO.jpgThe old city of Sanaa, Yemen (image: UNESCO)
Dubai 92Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi (image: Dubai 92)
Oruj travel.jpegYazd, Iran (image: Oruj Travel)

3. The people

I have never met so many kind, welcoming people as I have when travelling in the Middle East. Kindness and generosity are cornerstones of Middle Eastern culture and tradition, and despite the stereotyping and discrimination we so often hear in the mainstream media, Middle Eastern hospitality has become world famous.

Jordan.jpgBedouin hospitality in Jordan
Oman Visitor.jpgOmani children (image: Oman Visitor)

4. Food

Middle Eastern food has spread all over the world, with every major city playing host to restaurants offering the world-famous cuisines of the likes of Lebanon, Morocco, Iran, Syria, Turkey… the list goes on. But there’s nowhere better to experience Middle Eastern dining – which is steeped in culture and tradition – than the region itself.

Terrace Restaurant and Lounger.jpgDiverse and delicious – Lebanese food is world famous (image: Terrace Restaurant and Lounge)
Knafeh.jpgKnafeh is a famous Middle Eastern dessert
Rayna Tours.jpgArabic coffee and dates are practically an institution in the region (image: Rayna Tours)

5. Culture

The rich and complex culture of the Middle East draws people in from all over the world – travellers, historians, academics, linguists, journalists… the list goes on. People have long tried (and often failed) to understand the cultures of the region, from the age-old customs and traditions that differ from place to place, to the mysteries of Islam and the complexities of the Arabic language.

hajj twitter.jpgReligious pilgrims in Saudi Arabia (image: Everyday Middle East)
Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 11.30.47.pngWomen harvesting saffron in Khorosan, Iran

 

 

If you liked this, you might also enjoy:

5 Instagram accounts that capture the culture of the Middle East

5 reasons why you should learn Arabic

A Girl’s Guide to the Middle East: Jordan

Morocco: Echoes of the Orient

 

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