Trip to Middle East
Of all the regions of the world, the Middle East will give travelers some of their most unique experiences. The culture is very different from that in the West, and while some may be content to make judgments from afar, it’s far better to go and experience a region known for its friendly people first-hand. After visiting the Middle East, most travelers are more likely to be humbled than anything else.
The Middle East also has a rich variety of local cuisine for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike, and travelers won’t find the cost of travel to weigh as heavily on their bank accounts as they would in Europe.There’s no shortage of places to visit in the Middle East, where each country has its own gems. The region is full of historically-significant sites and breathtaking natural wonders. It was tough to narrow down such an extensive list to the best sights, but if you’re planning a trip to the Middle East, the following places are some you should consider planning your trip around. Hagia Sofia
Once a church, then a mosque, a museum and now a mosque again. Nearly 1500 years old, the Hagia Sofia stands proud in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district, where most of the tourists flock. Its Islamic aspects are the most prominent, but many of the mosaics from its Orthodox past have been uncovered and restored.
Known for its tall pointed rock formations called “fairy chimneys,” Cappadocia is a popular tourist destination in central Turkey. It’s promoted as a place to go hot-air ballooning, but there’s much more to experience, including underground cities, houses, and churches carved out from the rocks.
A unique natural formation in western Turkey, Pamukkale is a small mountain covered in white travertine with terraces and hot springs. After walking up its side barefoot with warm water running over your feet, you’ll find the Hierapolis ruins at the top to explore.
Petra is an ancient city in southern Jordan known for its many buildings hewn from small mountains and cliffs. It’s believed to have been established as early as 312 BC.
Bordered by Israel and Jordan, the Dead Sea is the deepest salt lake in the world. It’s so dense swimming is more like floating, and the amount of salt makes it impossible for animals to survive.
The oldest historic monument in Tehran, the Golestan Palace is a complex of former royal buildings. The tile work and architecture are stunning, both inside and out. The Mirror Hall is the most famous of the halls, known for its incredible mirror work.
A desert city in central Iran, Yazd is a centre of Zoroastrianism and Persian architecture. It’s a great place to relax for a few days, explore the old streets surrounded by adobe buildings, and see some beautiful designs.
Iran’s most notable historical site, Persepolis was first built as early as 515 BC and served as the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire. However, when Alexander the Great attacked it, much of it was burned to the ground. A few important pieces still stand, and there are many well-preserved bas-reliefs.
Anyone with any interest in religious history can’t miss the city of Jerusalem. Holding important historical sites for Muslims, Jews, and Christians, there’s a lot to see and learn in this religious center.
People love tall buildings, and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is currently the tallest. Its observation deck on the 124th floor is also the highest in the world, and gives a great view of the city. Not to mention it sits on a great park with huge fountains.
I’m not sure I’ve ever met a kid who wasn’t in awe of the Pyramids, and most adults are, too. It’s hard to not visit these wonders of the ancient world when in the region. You can pay extra to enter the Pyramids, as well as some of the surrounding tombs.
Located in the heart of Cairo, this museum is a monster. It’s packed so full of artifacts it’s hard to know where to go or what to look it, but it can’t be missed. There’s a special room for King Tut’s artifacts, and you can pay extra to see real mummies. I highly recommend it.
Very near to Egypt’s southern border, Abu Simbel has to be visited on a tour from Aswan. Two great temples sit on the edge of the Nile, but their story is even more incredible. Between 1964 and 1968, they were completely disassembled, cut into large blocks and moved 65 meters higher and 200 meters back from the river to avoid being flooded when the Aswan High Dam was built.
Valley of the Kings
The burial place of many pharaohs, the Valley of the Kings contains 63 known tombs, though only 18 can be opened to the public. General admission allows entry to some of the tombs, but others require additional tickets.