Middle East

Kuwait

With the 1990-91 Gulf War a fading memory, Kuwait is once again the prototypical Persian Gulf oil state. Walking around Kuwait City, it is hard to imagine the destruction of just a decade ago. There has been an obsessive, meticulous re-creation of the country’s pre-invasion appearance. Liberation brought new kind of openness to Kuwaiti life […]

Saudi arabia

Once an exclusive club for the chosen few, such as pilgrims bound for Mecca, oil sheiks from Texas, contract workers from Texas, contract workers from everywhere else, and the odd asylum-seeking dictator, Saudi Arabia now welcomes visitors on special visas. The cost is stiff, the restrictions intimidating, but the thrill of just being there is […]

Iraq

ln its long rich history lraq has played host to great civilizations, such as the Mesopotamian, in which writing, mathematics and astronomy were developed, and the medieval lslamic period of great learning and beautiful architecture ruled over by the legendary city of Baghdad. But recent history has been less kind: the dictatorial reign of Sadaam […]

Qatar

Best known for being unknown, Qatar has a habit of falling off the world’s radar-in facet, it only started issuing tourist visas in 1989. Foreign maps of Arabia drawn before the 19 th century don’t show the Qatar peninsula, and most people in the West don’t even known where it is. Fewer still can pronounce […]

Israel

Since its creation as a modern state in 1948 lsrael has never been far from international attention. A combination of Promised Land, postcard beaches and political powder keg, everyoune has their own perception of what larael should be. The capital, Jerusalem, is a sacred place to Jews, muslims and Christians, but it is as much […]

Lebanon

Lebanon’s modest borders pack in a powerful mix of cultures and traditions: mountain ski resorts and bucolic valleys, Roman ruins and lslamic architecture, bikini-clad beachgoers and women in head-to-toe chadors. The years of civil war and destruction are finally over, and the Lebanese, famed for their commercial skill, great food and appreciation of a good […]

Cyprus

Culturally European but geographically almost Middle Eastern, Cyprus is a blend of Turkish and Greek, Muslim and Christian influences, viewed through the perspective of 9000 years of constant invasion. Crusader castles rub shoulders with ancient vineyards, frescoed monasteries overlook citrus orchards, and sandy, sun-soaked feet tread Rome mosaic floors. Politically, Cyprus has remained a divided […]

Syria

Syria’s location at a geographical crossroads has resulted in a history that rich and varied. From the ancient cities of Alexander the Great and the Romans, to the castles of the Crusaders and the bustle of modern-day Damascus and Aleppo, Syria is truly unique. Full of hidden treasures and surprisingly easy to get around, Syria […]

Turkey

Turkey is Asia’s foothold in Europe, a melting pot of cultures and a bridge between continents. lt is modernizing rapidly-sometimes so fast you’d swear you can actually see it happening in front of your eyes. lt’s secular and Western-oriented and boasts a vigorous free-enterprise economy. The cuisine is to die for, the coastline a dream, […]

Oman

Previously regarded as the hermit of the Middle East, Oman is slowly coming out of its shell. One of the more traditional countries in the region, it has become more outward-looking in recent years. Once an imperial power that jostled with both Portugal and Britain for influence in the Gulf, its development since 1970 is […]