Displaying items by tag: Middle East
Keep a tight rein on your vertigo as you trek through the unbelievably steep cliff top village of Yemen's Al Hajjarah, which dates to the 12th century. Built upon a towering precipice in the heart of the Haraz Mountains, the homes are literally built into the very cliff face, providing views that are unmatched. It's also the type of place where you can soak up the genuine hospitality of the Yemeni people, who are often misunderstood. The fortified houses are highly decorated, some say to keep away the flies. However, there should be little to keep away the adventurous PlanetHopper! from this impressive village.
Don't waste a moment in planning a visit to Oman's Arabian Oryx Sanctuary, the only UNESCO-listed site ever removed from the world-renowned register. Extinct in the wild, this is the last remaining free-range habitat of the Arabian oryx. The Omani's reduced the size of the reserve by 90% for oil prospecting, leaving only a handful of breeding pairs to perpetuate the species. If the past few years is any indication of what is to come, then the clock is surely ticking for these gentle beasts of the desert. It is a poignant story that may lead to an inevitable conclusion - unless something unforeseen steps in to change their fate.
Step into Baalbek, the "City of the Sun" and be awestruck by the staggering scale of the ruins. Located in the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon, the city contains some of the largest Roman ruins ever discovered. The first view that PlanetHoppers! have of Baalbek is the six huge Corinthian columns of the Temple of Jupiter thrusting 22 meters (~ 72 ft) into the skyline, which was at one time the greatest temple in the Roman Empire. 42 majestic Corinthian columns adorn the lesser-known Temple of Bacchus, one of the best-preserved Roman temples in the world. The Great Court of Baalbek temple complex offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city. The Roman construction was built on top of earlier ruins. The retaining walls contain colossal stones that weight up to 800 tons each, with a huge behemoth called the Stone of the Pregnant Woman that weighs over 1000 tons and lies in a nearby quarry. Even with modern-day technology, these stone would be difficult to move; and many question how the "ancients" could have accomplished this feat. To this day, there are lingering mysteries surrounding Baalbek. However, there is one definite fact, a visit to this ancient site will leave you amazed.
Experience the splendor of perhaps the world's most ancient and chronicled cities, Iraq's Babylon. Home to one of the ancient wonders of the world - The Hanging Gardens of Babylon - it stood for over a thousand years as a center of the civilized world. Today, the ruins still provide a fascinating view into the wonders of the past and, if proposed plans come to fruition, the new government plans to make the site a focal point of cultural tourism. If the fates are kind, this once mighty city may once again become a common stop on the travel circuit.
Bahrain Quick Travel Guide
With a travel rating of 44%, Bahrain is generally renowned for being one of the most liberal of all of the Middle Eastern countries, so much so that it is even tolerant toward the practice of other, non-Muslim faiths. Perhaps some of this laidback attitude is because they've simply got it good here with massive oil reserves and one of the world's biggest pearl industries to boot. So, with all this it's not hard to understand why it has become a very popular destination for PlanetHoppers! over the past several years. Some of its highlights include the Tree of Life, which is said to mark the location of the fabled Garden of Eden, and the King Fahd Causeway, which spans more than 20 km (~ 12.4 miles) across the Gulf of Bahrain to connect with Saudi Arabia and is a modern engineering wonder of the world. But no trip to Bahrain can overlook the fact that as a composite of more than 30 islands, the beaches here are simply spectacular. If you're looking for "out of the norm" Middle East destination, then Bahrain is it.
|Events & Festivals||Beaches |
|Classic Journeys||Cultural Sites|
PlanetHop! Travel Rating
Commune with the "old guard" when you make you way to Bahrain's Tree of Life, one of the oldest trees of its kind in the world. At over 400 years of age, locals claim that the tree's longevity is due to its location on the mythi....
|Coordinates:||26 00 N, 50 33 E|
|Main Languages:||Arabic, English|
|Currency:||Bahraini Dinars (BHD)|
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Dress to impress as you join locals and tourists alike for high tea at Dubai's Burj al Arab, one of the most unique and luxurious hotels in the world. Built on an artificial island that juts out from Jumeirah Beach, it is connected to the mainland by its own private bridge. The building has quickly become the symbol of Dubai since opening in 1999 and is one of the few 7 star hotels in the world and stands 321 meters (1,053 ft) tall. Any visit here is bound to be memorable; just remember to book well in advance for high tea, as reservations can easily be booked out months in advance.
Get a crick in the neck as you stare up at the truly awe-inspiring Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. Dominating the Dubai skyline, this mammoth skyscraper soars 828 meters (2,717 ft) and can literally be seen for hundreds of kilometers away. A climb up to the observation deck on the 120th floor takes you to a place where vertigo is a constant companion. It is also one of those places you need to see to believe, as you will no doubt wonder how tall buildings can possibly get in the future and what will eventually top this one?
Wander through the last survivors of a dwindling ancient forest with a visit to Lebanon's Cedars of God. For centuries this special forest provided some of the most sought-after resource in the entire world. From Assyrians to the Babylonians, from King Solomon to the Ottoman Empire, all fought to control the timber that provided man with the ability to build their futures. Today, the forest may be only a shadow of its former self, but it still offers a place where you can feel the legacy of the past in each and every remaining tree. The forest is rigorously protected, but it is possible to tour it escorted by an authorized guide. Before time - and man - overcome this glorious forest, reward yourself and visit this destination as soon as possible.
Take a tour of the Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site venerated as the Golgatha, where Christ was crucified on the cross and the purported site of his resurrection. As one of the holiest locations in the world for Christians since the 4th century, the church is usually filled with pilgrims who have come from all over the planet to worship - then multiply this by ten at Christmas or Easter. Even for those not of the Christian faith, it still provides a fantastic opportunity to witness the power of faith first hand and to admire its unique beauty and history.
Step into the opening chapter of the "greatest story ever told" when you enter Palestine's Church of the Nativity, located in Bethlehem. As one of the oldest continually operating churches in the world, it is built over the cave that tradition marks as the birthplace of Jesus. As one of the most revered places in the Christian religion, it truly comes to life at Christmas time when you almost feel like you're with the wise men on that night over 2,000 years ago. Even if you're not Christian, there is something compelling about the place that you'll struggle to get out of your mind long after returning home.