6 photos showcasing the stunning natural beauty of the Middle East & North Africa

Happy World Environment Day!

To celebrate, today we’re sharing these 6 photos that showcase the incredible natural beauty and geographical diversity of the Middle East & North Africa.

1. The Sahara desert, Morocco

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The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world with an area of 9.2 million square kilometres – comparable to the size of China or the US! The desert comprises much of North Africa, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Mediterranean in the north and the Red Sea in the east.

For several hundred thousand years, the Sahara has alternated between desert and savanna grassland in a 41,000 year cycle caused by changes in the Earth’s axis as it rotates around the sun, which changes the location of the North African Monsoon.

2. The Nile river, Egypt

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The Nile river is the longest river in the world, crossing eleven countries and feeding into the Mediterranean Sea from Egypt. The river has been the lifeline of civilisation in Egypt since the Stone Age, with most Egyptian cities lying along the Nile Basin.

3. Salalah, Oman

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Salalah, in Oman’s southwestern Dhofar province, turns into a lush oasis during the summer months as it catches the tail end of the Indian monsoon. While the rest of Oman faces temperatures that often exceed 50 degrees Celsius during the summer, Salalah remains cool and green.

Salalah is known for its banana plantations and its marine life, and it is also the home of the precious fragrance Frankincense, which was historically transported north by camel caravan and traded along the Silk Routes.

4. The Dead Sea, Jordan

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The Dead Sea is an inland salt lake bordered by Jordan and Israel that sits 430.5 meters below sea level – the lowest point on earth. It is 9.6 times as salty as the ocean and its natural buoyancy means swimmers float on its surface.

The clay or mud found in the Dead Sea has been used for thousands of years for its natural cosmetic benefits. Once used by the Egyptians for mummification, today Dead Sea mud and salts are found and sold in soaps and skin masks.

5. Kal-e Jeni, Iran

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Kal-e Jeni (Jinn’s Valley) Canyon is located in the South-Khorasan province of Iran. The valley’s unique rock formations were shaped by water movement and erosion throughout centuries.

As its name suggests, it is known as a mysterious place among the local people. According to folklore and superstition, the valley is inhabited by jinns (spirits).

6. Wadi Rum, Jordan

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Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon, is a valley in Jordan cut into sandstone and granite rock. Its dusky orange sand and rocky canyons give one the feeling of being on Mars, and the desert played host to the filming of the Martian in 2015.

Wadi Rum is known for its connection with T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), who passed through many times during the Arab Revolt of 1917-18.

 

It’s always saddening to see that the majority of media coverage about the Middle East & North Africa seems to be focused on conflict and despair. By showing these photos of the region’s incredible natural beauty and geographical diversity, we hope to show that there is so much more to this stunning part of the world!

There are sooooo many more photos we could have included in this post! For more photos like this of other stunning places in the Middle East & North Africa, follow us on Instagram.

 

If you enjoyed this, you might also like:

5 reasons to fall in love with the Middle East

13 essential podcasts to help you understand the Middle East

5 Instagram accounts that capture the culture of the Middle East

 

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