I remember the first time that I saw the pyramids, I was in a taxi driving through the city of Giza. The city was welcoming, with wide dusty roads, and people walking in all directions going about their day. I hung my head out of the window like a happy puppy taking in the Arab culture, the new sights, sounds and smells of the Arab world. The problem was that I was looking out of the wrong side of the taxi.
It was the driver who took the initiative to point out of the other side, to tell us that the pyramids were there. I looked out of the other side of the taxi and simultaneous burst into tears. They were tears of shock and awe because there they were supreme, gigantic and slap bang in the middle of the city.
I had always assumed that the pyramids were in the middle of the desert, you rarely see pictures of the Arabian city of Giza sprawled out next to the pyramids. But the reality is that you could potentially rent an apartment in Giza and have your neighbouring view from your bedroom window be the pyramids.
The Burj Al Arab is a luxury hotel located in Dubai. Photo Source: Unsplash
Can you imagine, living in the city of Giza with a view of the pyramids? The idea seems surreal, but this is the reality for so many cities in the middle east and north Africa, not to mention other countries in the world.
Let’s take a look at some gorgeous Middle Eastern cities that come with a wealth of unique features.
|City||Arab Countries||Prominent Features||Beautiful Features|
|1||Abu Dhabi||United Arab Emirates||Attractions||White beaches|
|2||Dubai||United Arab Emirates||Expat population||Culturally vibrant|
|3||Jerusalem||Israel||3000 years of history||The old city|
|4||Petra||Jordon||Non traditional city||Archaeologic park|
|6||Doha||Qatar||World cup 2022||Pearl island|
|7||Manama||Bahrain||Old forts||Traditional markets|
|8||Salalah||Oman||Festival||Forts and castles|
|9||Istanbul||Turkey||European and asian||Diverse neighbourhoods|
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates in the Persian Gulf. It is a well-established travel destination with cosmopolitan Arabic culture. Abu Dhabi is an increasingly exciting city where nothing stops, it has the fastest roller-coaster at Ferrari World, a famous Formula 1 race track, the only other Louvre outside of Paris, virgin tours, islands and white sand beaches.
Abu Dhabi has also launched and developed a village of Eco-buildings, which all have cutting-edge architecture and forward-thinking technology, to promote essential concepts in the hopes of bringing empowerment to the idea of protecting our resources and the planet. Abu Dhabi is a beautiful destination, and you would be forgiven for thinking that this city has it all, because it almost does.
Dubai has been built up from the desert into a shiny modern city, which almost in many respects takes you into the future. It has become the most popular city in the United Arab Emirates, with its only rival being Abu Dhabi. It has one of the most diverse and international populations, of all the countries in the middle east.
Dubai is unique because within one day you can go skiing at Ski Dubai, climb the worlds tallest building – Burj Khalifa, go shopping in the worlds largest mall – Dubai mall, and skydive over the man-made Palm Jumeirah Island. Ok, if we are realistic, you would struggle to do all of this in 1 day. But these attractions and many more are available in Dubai. Making it a city full of attractions, giving you endless ways to enjoy the city.
Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world, and it is a fantastic historical city, that takes you back in time. The old town proves that size is not everything as you can walk through streets quite quickly due to its small size, but it is, without doubt, a hugely impressive part of the Israeli – Palestinian city.
The walls that surround the old city encase some spectacular attractions like the dome of the rock, the western wailing wall and a souk with vibrant colours. Jerusalem is food heaven with food representing Arab culture and cultures from all over the world.
Petra is the archaeological jewel in Jordan’s crown. Located in the desert, this archaeological site is half carved and half-built into the rock, it is a breath-taking landmark. One of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, this large ancient city is made up of religious landmarks, tombs, and carvings of all sizes.
Petra is known as the lost city, as only a tiny part of it has been excavated. Although Petra is not a city, in the traditional meaning of the word, as it is not permanently inhabited. Petra is now largely a tourist site, full of opportunities for discovery.
Beirut is the capital and largest city in Lebanon, Located on the Mediterranean coast. Beirut is the city with it all, history, modernity, and world-famous cuisine. No matter what you enjoy doing with your spare time you likely find it in this beautiful city.
Romantic walks on the corniche with views of the Mediterranean sea, Exotic new flavours for lunch, soaking up the sun on the beach or snapping selfies with some of the most unique architecture in the region. Beirut is a diverse and cosmopolitan destination.
Modern Arabian city lit up at night. Photo Source: Unsplash
Doha is the capital of Qatar, like many Middle Eastern cities, Doha is transforming itself rapidly and building itself into a city of culture. Doha will play host the upcoming 2022 world cup so there couldn’t be a better time to investigate this rising star.
Doha is an eclectic city with mega malls and luxury hotels being built alongside ancient souks and landmarks. The forward-thinking creativity is reflected in its developments. For example, the Pearl is an island off the coast of the city that has the most extensive collection of Islamic art in the world, housed at the museum of Islamic art.
Located on the Arabian peninsula, Manama is the capital city of the island of Bahrain, its small size makes it easy to discover its gems. Famous for its pearl trade, Manama is fast becoming a hub of culture and the arts in the region. Amazing museums showcase and celebrate Arabian and international art. But the art is not confined to museums, Bahrain has let art lose on the city.
You will find Arabic culture and art overflowing on to the streets, from the annual art fair called the Nest to outdoor Museums, art galleries, architecture, concert halls, theatres, cafes and libraries. All a part of the vision and organic expression of this beautiful city’s uprising to promote Art and culture in the country.
Salalah is a city off the beaten tourist track in the south of Oman and on the Arabian peninsula. It is a city full of natural beauty and is known as the perfume capital of the country with fragrances to tantalise your senses. It is also rich with archaeological sites such as forts, castles.
During the summer the temperatures in Salalah drop to around 24 degrees and the city holds its famous tourism festival, which started out as a local festival but has now grown to have international appeal. The festival is full of vibrant art, cultural displays, sporting opportunities, Omani heritage, exciting contests and shopping activities.
Istanbul is the capital of Turkey and is positioned in an exciting location in both Europe and Asia. Not many other countries can boast such a diverse positioning. Walking through eclectic Istanbul is surprising, as around every corner is a different expression of history, modernity, European and Asian culture.
Istanbul is a diverse and humongous city with neighbourhoods that express that same diversity. Unique neighbourhoods like Balat contain modern art and culture in historic buildings. Anyone with interests in the Islamic world will love the huge mosques that adorn different area of the city.
The Egyptian city of Giza is the gateway to one of the most famous archaeological parks in the world. A short train ride away from Cario you will come to Giza the home of The pyramids of Eygpt. They rise up from the sand and sit between the Sahara and Giza city. The monuments in the Giza plateau tower over the city like unmoving guardians, impossible to ignore.
As Gizas principle highlight, the Archaeological park complex comprises the breathtaking Giza Pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza. Which tends to overshadow other attractions in the city. But the Desert is a vast place with lots of variety and lots to explore and discover. From Desert tours to crawling into the centre of the Great Pyramid of Khufu.
The breathtaking Great Pyramid at Giza Archaeological park. Photo Source: Unsplash
The Middle East is a continent full of history, unique landmarks, exciting culture, Arabic language, striking architecture and lots of fun. We hope that your interest has been peaked and you are up for the challenge of discovering new and beautiful destinations in the Arab World.
There are many cities to explore in the following Middle Eastern countries Bahrain, Cyrus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordon, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE, Yemen.
Although we were not able to list all of the beautiful and remarkable Middle Eastern cities in this blog post. They are quickly becoming some of the most popular destinations, I hope that you won’t just read about them here but go out and visit them.
Meanwhile, enjoy the discovery!