"The Middle East: A Region Worth Discussing :)" Top 5 Page for this destination Middle East by JohnniOmani

Middle East Travel Guide: 63,594 reviews and 183,362 photos

A Misunderstood Region

The Middle East is an archaeologists and Historians dream come true. Although it helps, it isnt necessary to to have any appreciation of history to be blown away by much of what there is to see in the region. The area has some of the most incredible structures known to man from Petra to the Pyramids with less known gems like Baalbek or Shaharah. After three years of exploring its sights, the Middle East still humbles me when I least expect it whether it is the stunning sunsets or hospitable people. Living in the Middle East has opened up my eyes and mind in so many different ways and allowed me to experience one of the most interesting cultures the world has to offer. The Arab world has obvious problems relating to extremism and fanaticism caused and implemented by a notorious minority but that doesn’t stop the majority’s enthusiasm to treat foreigners with the utmost admiration, which almost certainly goes unnoticed to the outside world. I have traveled through Palestinians' refugee camps to drinking tea near Iraq and every person I met traveling thus far has been so friendly to me no matter their political ideology, religion, color, origin or gender. They have always greeted me with the most honest sincerity and welcomed me to their country. I am far from naïve and I don’t live in a fantasy world of peace and harmony but human beings are more alike then most realize or willing to admit and traveling in the region has allowed me to discover this first hand which is proving to be a remarkable experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. The Middle East has to be experienced to be believed and with five thousand years of history and culture, it is impossible not to fall in love with the place.

World Class Sights

Most people that visit the region are absolutely stunned to learn that the Middle East has some of the most impressive structures and ever built by man. Not only are they incredible but there are so many different styles of buildings that exist in the region. Yemen has some of the most visually dazzling buildings in the region with its ginger bread type homes. Oman has impressive gleaming white buildings that shine in the sunset like nothing you have ever seen before. Egypt has the ancient wonders ranging from the Pyramids to Abu Simbel while Jordan has the mind boggling ruins of Petra and Jerash. Iran has gorgeous blue tiled mosques while Lebanon is home to some of the best preserved Roman buildings on Earth. Add Turkey, the Gulf and Israel to the list and you would need 3 lifetimes to experience it all. The region is in a league of its own. The desert scenery in Oman, Iran and Jordan will make your jaw drop and the mountains in Yemen, Oman and Lebanon are a paradise for trekkers. The Middle East has just about anything you could ever ask for and due to current problematic areas ie Iraq, Israel/Palestine and you have a place where mass tourism does not exist. Travel here and you will walk away in awe :)

Oh the people :)

The human element of the Middle East is def one of it major assets. The people of the region are descedants of those who built many ancient civilisations. While the Turks and Persians are distinctive groups with their own country and language,the region is home to Arabs, Bedouin, Kurds, Druze, Jews, Armenians as well as every other type of ethnic group due to employment opportunities in the Gulf region. Etiquette plays a huge role in the Arab culture. If you can learn about the customs before you arrive you will have a better and more enjoyable experience. The people continue to impress me even after 3.5 years of living in the region. Leave your stereotypes at customs and you will have a great time. The idea of Arabs being terrorists couldn’t be further from the truth and in some ways rather amusing. For example, I have become very close friends with a man named Ali Tariq and he was born, raised and educated in Baghdad, Iraq. Learning about the culture and Islam and gaining his insights to different issues in the area from the raging war in his home country to how to properly greet a person in Arabic has been a truly memorable experience. Also, I have become great friends with two Omani women with whom I work with at the college. Becoming close friends with them has given me further insight to an Islamic woman's life in the Middle East which would be usually forbidden to all foreigners. They have been and continue to be incredibly open with me and we will remain great friends long after my time in the Middle East. Arabs have been nothing but remarkable with me with regards to hospitality. They continually invite me in their homes for tea and help me learn Arabic as well as the regional customs. The people in the region embarrass other countries with regards to hospitality and warmth and you will walk away with a new found respect for the people of the Middle East.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:People and History
  • Cons:Heat and Conservatism
  • In a nutshell:Life Changing Experience :)
  • Intro Updated May 11, 2008
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Reviews (18)

Comments (9)

  • ismile's Profile Photo
    Oct 28, 2010 at 2:16 AM

    As long as ive planned for this trip i know im no where near ready .Yet your post has come in very helpful.Question where is the safet place to go in the middle east?

  • Jun 28, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    Johnni, If you read this would you be able to give exact location of these "no in text book" places particularly focusing on outdoor markets

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Dec 16, 2009 at 6:32 AM

    So much good, senible advice here, well-considered and written from your own observations and experience. I', a MEophile also (what camel isn't?) and must endorse your positive take on the region. Great stuff - leyle

  • mfas2000's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2007 at 6:19 AM

    Loved your page about ME.. Recommended for those wanna travel/ live in this (rich in everything) reigon

  • Melisin's Profile Photo
    Aug 13, 2007 at 9:04 AM

    It is my pleasure to have you on my pages:) Thank you for your comment! A great study about Middle East! I have to work on your pages more....

  • magdalena2007's Profile Photo
    Jul 25, 2007 at 5:09 AM

    Its wonderful that you experienced the M East. It has been one of my dreams to go there. A lot of people dont appreciate why I long to travel to Yemen or Egypt & so on. But you put it perfectly –I want to walk away in awe & have a life changing experience

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Jun 2, 2007 at 11:44 PM

    Excellent useful tips for any first time visitors to the Middle East. Great work. SL

  • ncfg's Profile Photo
    Apr 11, 2007 at 12:53 PM

    Great tips! Thanks for the Women Travellers tips :-)

  • Tijavi's Profile Photo
    Mar 5, 2007 at 6:55 AM

    I am discovering this region slowly, layer by layer, and your insightful pages have been very helpful. You are very lucky to have experienced the great things this region has to offer. Thanks for sharing.

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