The region conventionally known as the Middle East encompasses numerous countries in Western Asia as well as the country of Egypt, which bridges Southwest Asia and the African continent. This region is known for being the historical birthplace of many of the world’s oldest civilizations, and to this day still attracts visitors from all over. Visit in the Middle East is certain to awaken traveler’s imagination and sense of wonder.List below compiles just a few must-see destinations Brimming with rich culture, religious and historical landmarks, and natural wonders alike, the Middle East has something memorable to offer every traveler.
Are you looking to get your fill of sights that are chock-full of cultural and historical significance from this incredibly colorful part of the world? Or perhaps you’re looking to take a more spiritual journey and say your prayers at major sites of religious import, assisted by a trusty app like Muslim Pro? Whatever your faith, travel preferences, or region of origin, you’ll want to read on. The list below compiles just a few must-see destinations found in different Middle Eastern countries.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (Abu Dhabi, UAE)
The awe-inspiring Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and incorporates multiple architectural styles from a number of different Islamic civilizations. Naturally, it’s also one of the country’s most frequently visited attractions, welcoming upwards of 50,000 visitors and worshippers from all over the world each day.
Entrance to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is free for Muslim and non-Muslim guests alike. Visitors are welcome to explore the complex independently or join free-of-charge walking tours. This generous open-door policy is in keeping with the spirit with which the mosque was built, as it was originally conceived to celebrate cultural diversity and embrace people from all walks of life.
Those who visit the mosque on more spiritual journeys are welcome to attend its services or to pray within its walls on their own. Get a little help from the Muslim Pro app to guide your daily prayer, or schedule visits around significant holidays and observances for an extra-meaningful celebration. Indeed, doing your regular devotions in such a special and significant place will surely make for a truly unforgettable experience.
Blue Mosque (Istanbul, Turkey)
Officially known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul’s Blue Mosque is popularly called such for the handmade ceramic tiles that adorn its interior. The inside of the mosque is lit by 260 windows, which allow visitors to fully appreciate the intricate floral designs that cover the mosque’s inner walls and central dome. This exquisitely designed interior, taken in concert with the Blue Mosque’s great size and equally imposing exterior, make it one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Turkey.
Like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque above, the Blue Mosque continues to be a fully operational place of worship. To this day, it’s recognized as a pillar of Turkish and Islamic culture, so Muslim visitors from abroad are free to pray there. Non-Muslim visitors should also note that the mosque is closed to tourists during services, and plan their daily routes accordingly.
Giza Necropolis (Giza, Egypt)
Possibly the most famous location on this list, the pyramids of the Giza Necropolis have in the popular imagination become essentially symbolic of Egypt itself, and travelers to the area will immediately be able to see why they’re so iconic. The complex is the home of three major pyramids, as well as the famed statue of the Great Sphinx of Giza and numerous other lesser tombs and burial sites. Located at the edges of Egypt’s western desert, these looming structures cut an imposing figure even from a distance. Regardless of how familiar you think you might be with their image, seeing the pyramids up close surely won’t fail to put you in awe of their majesty. Don’t be surprised if you, too, find yourself struggling to understand how such huge buildings were raised thousands of years ago—and how they’ve managed to stand the test of time since.
Petra (Ma’an Governorate, Jordan)
Affectionately nicknamed the Red Rose City for the red sandstone that dominates the surrounding landscape, the rock-carved city of Petra in Southern Jordan was once the center of Nabatean Arab civilization. The city was a major waypoint on many trade routes in its heyday, and frequently played host to caravans carrying incense, silks, and spices from neighboring regions. These days, it’s one of the biggest archaeological sites in the world, and a haven for lovers of historical architecture. Visitors will surely marvel at Petra’s elaborate tombs and temples. Don’t miss as well the vast network of water reservoirs that allowed its inhabitants to thrive in an essentially arid, inhospitable region. The sheer variety of archaeological remains you’ll see around the area is a true testament to the brilliance of civilizations past.
Exploring the Middle East is certain to awaken any traveler’s imagination and sense of wonder. The region’s many marvels offer a wealth of stories about the ways humankind has been able to survive, thrive, and even create wonders throughout history. Once you get your first taste of what’s out there, you’ll immediately want to get packing for your next adventure—and your next, and your next.