10 Hidden Secrets Of The Middle East!
A transcontinental region located over Egypt and western Asia, the Middle East is comprised of around 17 countries and with an ancient history, there are many hidden treasures to see.
1. Orientalist Museum, Qatar
In Qatar’s capital city Doha, you can find the Orientalist Museum. Hidden behind the imposing and much better known Museum of Islamic Art, this small yet stunning museum offers some special sites to behold. With depictions of the city itself, many from the 19th Century, the beautiful interiors offer the perfect backdrop to the breath-taking paintings on display.
2. Kuwaiti Maritime Museum, Kuwait
Located on the tip of the Persian Gulf, one word usually springs to mind when you think of this western Asian country – oil. However this country has so much more to offer including the Kuwaiti Maritime Museum. This small museum houses traditionally built wooden ships, as well as other maritime artefacts from Kuwait’s seafaring past. A further bonus to this museum is its great location right next to the water, and the fact that its admission is free.
3. Barbar Temple,Bahrain
In the western shores of the Persian Gulf, you can find the island nation of Bahrain, and it’s in the northern village of Barbar that you can find the excavation site of the Barbar Temple. This site was discovered by a Danish archaeological team back in 1954, and has since revealed 3 temples, the oldest of which dates back to an incredible 3000 BC. This ancient site is a little off the beaten track, making it the perfect secret site to enjoy whilst visiting Bahrain.
4. Wadi Al Arbiyeen, Oman
Oman, officially the Sultanate of Oman is an Arabic country found in the south-east coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and is an underrated holiday spot not least for its rich history and stunning nature. Take for example the beautiful Wadi Al Arbiyeen located near the country’s coastal capital city of Muscat. Wadi is an Arabic word for a dry valley that remains fertile thanks to flooding in the rainy season, and this one is truly a spectacular site to behold.
5. Abu Galem, Egypt
One of the most popular holiday destinations in the Middle East, Egypt is famed worldwide for its pyramids, ancient history and of course the imposing Sahara. Abu Galem is a secret gem of Egypt that is located on the Red Sea, and it has to be one of the country’s most lovely spots. As a wildlife reserve, it showcases to perfection its coral reef, sand dunes, fresh water springs and incredible mountains.
6. Anfeh, Lebanon
With evidence of civilization back 7000 years, this incredible country located between the Mediterranean and Arabian countries has had a rich and fascinating history, but it is also incredible beautiful too, as the coastal village of Anfeh shows. Located in the north-east of Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea, you can go snorkelling in the water and even see turtles in their natural habitat.
7. Mount Ida, Turkey
Another one of the Middle East’s most popular tourist destinations, Turkey straddles both Europe and the Middle East. Mount Ida is a mountain found in the north-west of the country and is a beautiful spot. However it is also reputedly the spot of some of the Trojan tales from Greek mythology, which lends this area an extra special type of magic.
8. Dizin Ski Resort, Iran
Located in western Asia, Iran is not the first country that springs to mind when one thinks of ski resorts. Nonetheless, the country boasts skiing as one of its leisure activities and the Dizin Resort near Tehran is the country’s biggest. Incredibly established in 1969, the resort boasts a long and dependable ski season from December until May, making it a great spot to enjoy some winter sports.
9. Farasen Islands, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia takes up the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula and is the second largest state in the Arab world after Algeria. Another country often best known for its oil, there are some beautiful spots to be found, including the Farasen Islands in the Red Sea which are located around 40km from the mainland. A wonderful destination for diving, bird watching and sea bathing, as well as viewing some historical sites, you can truly find space to relax on these tiny islands.
10. Socotra, Yemen
This Arab country in western Asia is the second largest country in the Arabian Peninsula after Saudi Arabia, and has a rich and vibrant history. Socotra is an island and small collection of archipelagos belonging to Yemen which lies some 380km south of the Peninsula. An incredible island, due to its isolation, over 30% of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet, and it is this that helps to make it one of the most unusual destinations on a trip to Yemen.