Standing at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, and Europe, the Middle East is an enchanting mix of people and cultures as diverse as the exotic spice blends found in the region’s cuisine. Home to three of the world’s major religions—Judaism, Islam, and Christianity—these ancient lands are steeped in a divine spirituality that permeates the region’s landscape and history. It was here, after all, it is said that Moses parted the Red Sea and Jesus walked on water in Galilee.
Western civilization can be traced back thousands of years to the bountiful land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. But with so many religious groups jostling for territory and position, the long history of the Middle East has, sadly, too often been a bloody one. A visit to this storied region will take you behind the headlines to see what life is really like in the Holy Land, challenging your preconceptions and showcasing the legendary warmth and hospitality—despite the ongoing conflicts—of the people who call this region home.
From shifting desert sands to futuristic cityscapes, the Middle East offers a feast to the senses: wander labyrinthine market bazaars, float in the Dead Sea, and party the night away in fun-loving Tel Aviv. But as the region rushes to embrace modernity, it still retains its hallowed spirit. With gleaming onion-domed mosques, towering temples, and sacred Christian sites, the line between this world and the next feels a little bit thinner in the Middle East.