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Abu Dhabi. Bahrain. Dubai. Iran. Iraq. Kuwait. Oman. Saudi Arabia. United Arab Emirates. Yemen.
Recent Middle East articles
- Kayaking Through the Mangroves in Abu Dhabi - A few minutes ago we were in Abu Dhabi, a noisy, bustling metropolis of high rise concrete, fast cars and muezzins. But here among the mangroves it is calm and peaceful, and there is no sound apart from the gentle swish of paddles. In Your Bucket Because… The mangroves provide a complete contrast to the [...]
- Sleeping like Monks in the Caves of Goreme in Cappadocia - As an independent traveler, it happens every so often: You find yourself walking beside a road in the middle of the desert, cars whizzing by you with little regard, no more than a bottle of water and a book in your bag. It was that way one afternoon in middle of Turkey as I made [...]
- Walking Istiklal Cadessi into the Heart of Istanbul - Standing at the corner of Taksim Square, I gaze into the multi-faceted soul of Istanbul: Istiklal Cadessi (Independence Avenue) is a wide pedestrian-only street that stretches about a mile and half, from Taksim Square to Galata Tower, and from about noon to beyond midnight any day of the week, it heaves with people. Before arriving [...]
- Negotiating Cairo’s Khan el-Khalili Market - I am beginning to feel a little uncomfortable. My self-appointed guide — he introduced himself only as Mohammed, which is not helpful in a country where Mohammed is the name of most of the male population — keeps urging me just a little way further. Another turn, a narrower alley, fewer people, dimmer light: In [...]
- Living Large at the Burj al Arab in Dubai - “Ah, not the elevator,” my friend said in the lobby of Dubai’s Burj Al Arab hotel. “We will ride the submarine to the restaurant.” And indeed, we did. After entering a small capsule with bucket seats and fastening our seat belts, lights flickered, sirens screamed, dials trembled and we were pushed back by what truly [...]
- Bathing Turkish Style in Istanbul: The Ayasofya Hurrem Sultan Hamami - “Come, come.” The woman gently takes my arm and steers me into the large round room. “Come” is the only word she knows in English, which makes her one word up on me, as I don’t speak a word of Turkish. But perhaps it’s just as well we can’t have a conversation, as I’m completely [...]
- Drifting Between Continents on a Bosphorus Day-Cruise in Istanbul - Talk about Continental Drift: I am floating — literally — between Asia and Europe. To my left is familiarity, reassuring names like Paris and Venice, Vienna and Madrid. To my right are places like Kazakhstan and Urumqi: the exotic lands of western Asia, with their unpronounceable names and incomprehensible customs. Do Asians look west and [...]
- Shopping for Turkish Carpets in Istanbul - This is not my first rodeo, thank goodness, because if I had never been in an Oriental rug shop before — in Egypt, in Thailand, in the suburbs of New York City — I would surely have come out of the carpet store in Istanbul having hocked my return air ticket for a beautiful, hand-knotted, [...]
- What to Buy in Turkey: Souvenir Shopping in Istanbul - Shops selling cell phones sit next to shops selling hand-made carpets, the kind that were once used by nomadic tribes living in tents in the desert. Bright piles of pungent spices send competing aromas drifting toward a store selling gold jewelry, seemingly by the pound. Colored glass lamps catch sunlight shining into a storefront window [...]
- Floating in the Dead Sea, Israel - The water looks like nothing special. I walk out till I am thigh-deep, then lean all the way back and kick my feet out from under me. I find myself lying back as if in an (invisible, wet) armchair. I am one of the more than one million foreign tourists who come to the Dead [...]
- Sailing on a Felucca at Sunrise through Cairo, Egypt - What is startling is the silence in the middle of a city that normally assaults the senses. In mid-day Cairo, cars honk through the main roads, businessmen stride to work, vendors vend, ladies covered in the mystery of head-to-toe robes shuffle past like shadows. But just now, as black gives way to gray, there is [...]
- Paying Respects at Egypt’s El-Alamein Battlefield and Museum - To one side of me is the deep, oversaturated blue of the Mediterranean. To the other, the beige sands of the Sahara glare in a sun suitable for neither mad dogs nor Englishmen. Every once in a while there is barbed wire fence, less often, a sign warning people to stay away. World War II [...]
- Eating Your Way Through Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market - Nir walked onto our bus with a decadent smelling plastic container fogged over from freshly baked warmth. This was one of the perks of having locals on our trip: Being Israeli, Nir had known exactly where to go when our tour group stopped at Mahane Yehuda market. He passed back the box, welcoming each of us [...]
- What to Buy in Dubai: Souvenir Shopping in one of the World’s Bizarre Bazaars - I am standing in a shopping mall. To my left, a realistically sculpted male mannequin is showing off a trendy pair of overly tight underwear, complete with bumps that leave nothing to the imagination. In front of me, a sign implores visitors to dress modestly to avoid offending local morés. Another sign gives directions: to [...]
- Hiking up Masada in Israel - The air still holds the night’s chill, although the inky sky is beginning to show just the faintest hint of light. Throngs of students laugh and joke and generally clog the ramp leading to the top of Masada, an arid rock plateau south of Jerusalem overlooking the Dead Sea. Impatient, I slither and slip in [...]
- Blundering Into Bethlehem - The rental car is safely back without a scratch and filled with gas, and the hold on our credit cards is off. So the story can be told. We were SUPPOSED to drive to the main checkpoint leading into Bethlehem, which is located just across the border, in the West Bank. Before 2000 — before [...]
- What to Buy in Egypt: Souvenir Shopping Among the Ruins of the Nile - “When you come out, you must walk like a camel,” says Mohammed. We are getting ready to tour the Valley of the Kings, and Mohammed is telling us where and when we will meet after we split up to explore on our own. Apparently, there is a souk we must walk through to get back [...]
- What to Buy in Israel: Souvenir Shopping in the Holy Land - I am standing on a street Jesus might have walked on, touching a coin he most certainly never touched, but could have — “could have” in the sense that lawyers on TV use the words when they bellow, “So it’s possible then that my client was just an innocent bystander and an alien from space [...]
- Exploring Tel Aviv, Israel, by Bicycle - The traffic is snarled and the rules of engagement remind me of a cross between the New Jersey Turnpike and mid-town Manhattan during a gridlock alert. Finding a parking space looks to be a national sport – although one with very few rules, as people park anywhere and everywhere. Israel may be a small country [...]
- Visit Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque: a Masterpiece of Islamic Architecture - We stare at the dazzling white columns surrounding the courtyard of the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, the sunlight forming pools on the marble mozaic floor. The effect is mesmerizing, a play of light and perspective that renders us momentarily speechless. “It’s better than the Taj Mahal,” my husband says at last, and I have to [...]