The Middle East has some of the world’s most well preserved ancient sites, from a city carved into the rose-hued mountains of Jordan to Roman temples honouring the deities in Lebanon. We’ve unearthed the best historical sites for Middle Eastern holidays.
What to See
Petra is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave your jaw scraping across the terracotta sands below your feet. Petra is a sprawling winding city carved into the mountains by the Nabataeans more than 2,000 years ago. You enter through a narrow pass between the rocks and emerge in front of the majesty of the Al-Khazneh – a façade more than 43m high that holds the tomb of a Nabataean King. Wandering through the whole city can take the best part of a day but if you stay for longer you’ll still find unexplored wonders to this architecturally mystifying city, including the a steep climb to view the Ad-Deir Monastry.
For more information visit whc.unesco.org
The complex of temples was built in the Roman period to worship the gods Jupiter, Venus and Bacchus, and was known as Heliopolis in the Hellenistic period. It came into its golden age under Roman rule where the temples of Jupiter and Bacchus were marked by dozens of Corinthian columns. Those at the Temple of Jupiter were the largest at over 20m high, whereas the Bacchus temple is highly decorated with sculpted figures.
For more information visit destinationlebanon.gov.lb
Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire and founded by Darius the Great in 518 BC. It is an impressive complex of palaces built on an immense stone terrace as the seat of government and a magnificent show palace. The stairways, throne rooms and reception rooms are among the world’s greatest ancient sites.
For more information whc.unesco.org
Around 30 miles north of Amman Jerash holds the ancient Gerasa Roman city dating back more than 6,500 years. It is appreciated by archaeology enthusiasts for its well-preserved ruins and large size. It was hidden for centuries by sand and excavated during the last 70 years. Walking around the pristine plaza of colonnades or sitting in the amphitheatre will bring the ancient history to life
Nakhal Fort is a sprawling fortification in the Al Batinah Region of Oman. It dates back to a pre-Islamic period and was rebuilt in the 17th Century. Built to protect trade routes and act as an oasis in the dessert, it is now one of the largest historical monuments in the Sultanate. Its unusual shape can be attributed to architects attempting to fit it around the surrounding rocky hills. From the top you can view the palm groves, village below and Al Batinah region.
For more information visit oman-tourist.com