Journey to the Most Astounding Places in the Middle East Region
A journey to the Middle East is a top destination on the bucket list of most avid travelers. Considered to be the cradle of civilization, there are both ancient cities and monuments to explore, as well as some of the most opulent architecture in the world today. From the tombs of pharaohs in Egypt to the glistening skyscrapers of the UAE, a trip to this region of the world is filled with incredible sites you will remember for the rest of your life.
Iconic sites are located far and wide across a variety of countries. Travelers should consider using various modes of transportation including boat, bus, rail, and affordable regional airlines like Airblue. Let’s take a look at 6 of the most dramatic and astounding places to visit in the Middle East region.
Egypt – Land of Pharaohs and Pyramids
The impressive ancient settlements and dynastic kingdoms that rose along the banks of the Nile River in Egypt have been a draw to tourists for centuries. Along the fertile deltas and plains of the Nile river valley, the earliest grand cities thrived. Monuments, pyramids, and stunning archeological sites guarantee a visit you will cherish for years. From the iconic pyramids of Giza to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, you will not want to miss a visit to Egypt.
Jordan – Petra
When Indiana Jones galloped through the narrow canyons to the grand sandstone entrance of Petra, our attention and imaginations were ignited and tourism at Petra entered a new era.
Today Petra is one of the most sought-after sites in the Middle East and should be a must-visit site on your tour of the Middle East. The iconic carved pink sandstone entrance to The Treasury stands as a testament to the importance of its strategic caravan trading location between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea.
Saudi Arabia – Mada’in Saleh and Jeddah
Mada’in Saleh, is often called ‘the second Petra’. The ancient city of Al Ula is home to the immense golden rock archeological site of Mada’in Saleh. This fascinating site contains over 300 carved tombstones along with carved eagles, sphinxes, and griffins. Similar to Petra, this was the second-largest trading city for the Nabataean culture who established ancient trade routes between Petra and Mecca..
Jeddah is where you can break away from the ancient past and experience modern-day life in Saudi Arabia. A major port city on the Red Sea, Jeddah is where Saudis come for some rest and relaxation. Jeddah’s motto is “Jeddah is Different”, meaning that it is primarily a commerce and resort city that has relaxed some of the very conservative restrictions in the rest of Saudi Arabia. Here you will find high rise hotels, boutique shopping, cafes, and recreational beaches. While here be sure to visit the Gate to Mecca where Muslim pilgrims who come by sea begin their journey to Mecca.
United Arab Emirates – Dubai
Perhaps nowhere else on earth has made such a splash on the tourism scene as Dubai in the UAE. What was not so long ago a windblown desert is today one of the most opulent and modern cities in the world. While other Arabian countries concentrated on monetizing their vast oil fields, Dubai became a city of world commerce. From building the world’s first palm-shaped island real estate development to streets lined with the tallest skyscrapers on the planet, Dubai is constantly pushing the limits of design and entertainment. There are attractions here for every interest from indulgent shopping malls to desert safaris, undersea restaurants, indoor skiing parks, and wild wave pools. Don’t miss a chance to visit Dubai!
Pakistan – Shah Johan Mosque and Makli
The Shah Johan Mosque in the city of Thatta near the port city of Karachi is well worth seeking out. This mosque is one of the largest in Arabia and is embellished with exquisite tile work in sashes of blue. In addition to the jaw-dropping tile designs, intricate geometric brickwork is on display. The mosque has an impressive 93 domes that result in unique echoes that disperse sound throughout the entire structure.
Flickr by: Blondinrikard Fröberg
Not far from Tatta is the impressive Makli Necropolis that houses over 500,000 tombs. Buried and memorialized here with lavish decorations are the tombs of Kings, Queens, saints, scholars, philosophers, and government officials spanning the 14-18th centuries.