6 Wonderful Destinations in the Middle East

 

The wonderful pyramids of Giza, the pink facades of Petra, the architectural wonder that is Istanbul are just some of the destinations that attract tourists from all over the world, however in the Middle East there is much more to discover . So you are a traveler who seeks to know the history and culture, to enjoy the gastronomy of the place, the nature the landscape or simply you are eager to explore new horizons, next I suggest to you six wonderful and little known destinations of Middle East that will make your trip is really unique and special.

Ancient ruins

The city of Cairo has more than 7000 years of history. In Jerusalem, Israelis celebrate 3000 years of Jewish tradition. In Syria, Damascus and Aleppo are proclaimed the oldest cities of the earth; with this impressive history come the archaeological monuments and their ancient vestiges.

All the ruins you can visit in these cities are wonderful, but if you seek to escape the crowds of tourists visit the Basilica of St. Siman in northern Syria . This monument dates from the 5th century, which is not as old as others in the region but has a magnificent beauty, quite natural since it has never been restored.

The absence of tourists, the desert breeze and the landscape make this Basilica one of the most serene; is only 60km from Aleppo, it is enough to take half a day to make a beautiful walk.

Delicious Gastronomy

Middle East is a culinary paradise, everything you can try while you make your trip will be extraordinary, from fresh falafel, hummus with sweet olive oil, roast meat and many dishes known worldwide.

Despite these delicious dishes, there are many more that are not so well known and that can approach the culture of each country, a clear example is the Mansaf, dish of lamb and rice that is eaten with the hands, its peculiarity is that it is tasted standing in a circle with the other guests to the food.

Another wide recommendation may be the Maqlubeh, Palestinian rice dish with chicken, almonds and spices. Approaching the ethnic cuisine without taboos about its flavor will enrich your trip.

Rahmo is an excellent Jerusalem restaurant , serving the best Kubbe soups; the old Rahmo is located just around the corner from the Iraqi market in Mahane Yehuda and the new one is located near Zion Square on Yoel Solomon Street in the center of the city.

Night life

Conventional wisdom would tell you that if you are looking to party in the Middle East you should head to Dubai or Beirut, however in Jordan and in several other countries you can find very special nightclubs.

I do not recommend that Amman be your first choice for a party, however if you are there for a weekend I highly recommend you visit the Nih, which is the fashion club where the posh youth of Palestine and Jordan go partying .

It’s just around the corner from the Howard Johnson in Shmesani, make sure you get there before 10 or you’ll probably stay out. Prices are reasonable, surely much better than what you would pay in Dubai or Beirut.

Nature

The image of nature we all have of this region is none other than that of a huge and hot desert, although this preconception is far from reality, in fact nothing irritates the natives more than the idea that everything moves on camels.

For lovers of green and nature reserves who know that in countries like Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine and even Jordan can find them. If you travel to Israel I recommend the Golan region , beautiful green mountains , lots of water and a beautiful view of the Sea of Galilee.

It is located only 40km from Damascus, the capital of Syria, and although it is disputed with Israel, it is quite safe. Within this region you will find the National Park of Nahal Yehudia. The best time of year to visit this site is in spring, because the wild flowers bloom in all its splendor.

Spirituality

Choosing a spiritual place and away from the bustle of tourists is quite difficult. The history of the Islamic Empire is felt throughout the region thanks to its mosques, which in many cases are the most appreciated works of art in each city.

In Jerusalem you will find the remains of the Jewish Temples, the resurrection site of Christ and the site where Mohamed ascended to paradise; these global symbols do not always mean spirituality for travelers, that’s why I usually recommend places far from it.

The desert has always been a synonym for calm and peace, it is the place that offers the opportunity to be humble and surrender to nature. The best of them all is the reddish desert of Wadi Ram of Jordan.

In the western part of Egypt you will find another paradise of spirituality, the Oasis of Siwa ; finding what for each traveler means spirituality, whether God, science or both, will be easier is a secluded place where you can meditate.
Siwa is 11 or 12 hours from Cairo, and you will have to take two buses to get there. Undoubtedly it is a worthwhile trip.

Trip

While some travel in search of the tourist spot, others choose to take the roads and explore the country for themselves. A wonderful book about the journey to the far east is the one that Tiziano Terzani wrote, called “A fortune teller told me: Earthbound travels in the Far East”, which shows the true way to appreciate the whole process of the trip.

Terzani makes sure to include in his book several ways of traveling through the Middle East, from the train to the ships and cruises, making sure nothing is lost. Although it is important to mention that it takes special importance to the spiritual fact that led you to choose that destiny.

To live a trip intensely in these regions is quite simple, to leave your prejudices aside and to prepare you to receive the majesty of the oldest civilizations of the earth is easy task. Another great advantage is that the hospitality of the natives will make you feel less and less tourist.

 

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