Sam's Exotic Travels to the Middle East
Having arranged my website to show each of the seven continents, it became apparent that the countries in the Middle East could be counted in two or more of Europe, Asia or Africa - and are best classified as a separate eighth region, which I have now done.
Here's what Wikipedia has to say about this important region:
"The Middle East lies at the juncture of Eurasia and Africa and of the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. It is the birthplace and spiritual center of religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Manichaeism, Yezidi, Druze, Yarsan and Mandeanism, and in Iran, Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, Manicheanism, and the Bahá'í Faith. Throughout its history the Middle East has been a major center of world affairs; a strategically, economically, politically, culturally, and religiously sensitive area.
The worlds earliest civilizations, Mesopotamia (Sumer, Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia) and ancient Egypt, originated in the Fertile Crescent and Nile Valley regions of the ancient Near East. These were followed by the Hittite, Greek and Urartian civilisations of Asia Minor, Elam in pre Iranian Persia, as well as the civilizations of the Levant (such as Ebla, Ugarit, Canaan, Aramea, Phoenicia and Israel), Persian and Median civilizations in Iran, North Africa (Carthage/Phonecia) and the Arabian Peninsula (Magan, Sheba, Ubar). The Near East was first largely unified under the Neo Assyrian Empire, then the Achaemenid Empire followed later by the Macedonian Empire and after this to some degree by the Iranian empires (namely the Parthian and Sassanid Empires), the Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire. However, it would be the later Arab Caliphates of the Middle Ages, or Islamic Golden Age which began with the Arab conquest of the region in the 7th century AD, that would first unify the entire Middle East as a distinct region and create the dominant Islamic ethnic identity that largely (but not exclusively) persists today. The Mongols, the Turkish Seljuk and Ottoman empires, the Safavids and the British Empire would also later dominate the region.
The modern Middle East began after World War I, when the Ottoman Empire, which was allied with the Central Powers, was defeated by the British Empire and their allies and partitioned into a number of separate nations, initially under British and French Mandates. Other defining events in this transformation included the establishment of Israel in 1948 and the eventual departure of European powers, notably Britain and France by the end of the 1960s. They were supplanted in some part by the rising influence of the United States from the 1970s onwards."
Countries include Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestinian territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yeman.
Click below to view the countries I have visited to date:
Why not bookmark this site - and when you finish your tour, please sign the Guestbook and let me know what you think.
Please note that all photographs and text appearing on this site are the exclusive intellectual property of Sam Stearman. No images are within the Public Domain, and no image use is permitted without the written prior authorization of the copyright owner. If you see any pictures you would like to buy, all the thousands of pictures on this site are available in high resolution digital format, suitable for framing, use in magazines or advertising. Email me if you would like to know more.