Jerusalem is the center and birthplace of Christianity, as it is the spiritual home of Judaism and Islam. These three faiths peg their origins to Abraham, the supposed historical father of Islam and Judaism, and spiritual father of Christians. Pilgrims from all over the world come to Jerusalem. Although pilgrimages are not as important for Christians as they are for Muslims, thousands of Christians make their way to Jerusalem every year, specifically to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The Amazing Middle East on Top of the World
The Middle East is probably the most overlooked and misunderstood subcontinent in Asia. (Some people don’t even know it is in Asia.) When the Middle East comes to mind, people think about war, terrorism and oil-rich, power-hungry rulers. This is stereotyping at its worst. The Middle East is a beautiful corner of the world with interesting attractions, rich cultures, delicious foods and people that are full of faith.
Let’s take Egypt as an example. The country has not been doing well in the areas of politics and economy. But everybody, and definitely every child in the world, knows about Egypt’s Great Pyramids. It will take you hours counting just how many books, movies and legends have come out from them. Egypt’s pyramids, the sphinx, mummies, ancient relics and buried treasures are what the best adventures are made of.
Israel is a good second example. It is the birthplace of three of the world’s largest religions – Christianity, Judaism and Islam, making the country the center of religious tourism and holy pilgrimages. More than 3 million tourists come here every year to see the Old City of Jerusalem, the Wailing Walls, Mount Olives, Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
A third example of the beauty of the Middle East is the world’s newest, flashiest and most exotic playground – the beautiful, surreal and oil-rich country of Dubai. The only 7-star hotel in the world is Dubai’s Burj Al-Arab. It has rooms that are furnished in pure gold.
Another important building is the Burj Khalifa, the reigning tallest man-made structure in the world and definitely an engineering achievement. You might have seen it in Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol movie, but seeing it up close, either looking up or looking down from its top floors is simply spectacular. And while there, you can spend minutes just staring at the world’s largest dancing fountains on Burj Khalifa’s 30-acre lake. The fountain shoots water jets as high as a 50-storey building.
To say that Jerusalem is a city of museums is an understatement. There are more than 60 museums in the city, which is very impressive for a tiny city compared to other major metropolis and tourist destinations in the world. While a majority of these museums are excellent and the best in their field, the most important museum in the Holy City and the entire country is the Israel Museum.
Perhaps the most exciting archeological finds ever are the Dead Sea Scrolls, and where are they now? You guessed it, in the Israel [Read more…]
Christianity is the only religion in the world that claims the resurrection and ascension of its founder. Jesus was resurrected after spending three days in the grave. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher maintains that within its compound is the actual grave where the body of Jesus was kept for three days. The Holy Sepulcher is one of the most revered and visited sites in the Old City in Jerusalem. But just in case the church leaders got it wrong, there is an alternative location in Jerusalem for Christ’s tomb — the Garden Tomb.
The belief that this could be the probable site of Christ’s actual tomb is not without evidence. Believers look to textual, historical and [Read more…]
Humidity in the desert can be a bit too overwhelming, especially during the summer. But this doesn’t stop tourists and locals from enjoying the wonders of the most lavish city in the United Arab Emirates. Instead of taking refuge in the comfort of air-conditioned malls and hotels, a lot of people flock to Hatta, a traditional village located at the foot of the Hajar Mountains, about 71 miles east of Dubai. Situated in a higher altitude, this town features the mildest and least humid climate than anywhere in the city, making it a favorite getaway of residents and tourists from the steamy metropolis.
Apart from the weather, another reason to visit the town is its natural scenery. Geographically bounded by the desert and the rugged Hajar Mountains, this town offers off-road adventures that compete with the luxurious experience in the city. Adventurous spirits may [Read more…]
One man in particular has made significant efforts that helped shape the city-state of Dubai into one of the most progressive places in the Middle East and in the world. Sheik Saeed Al Maktoum is regarded by many as a great man and a great leader. During the time of his leadership, Dubai turned itself into a world-class sheikdom, flourishing in business and entrepreneurship and serving as a good example to neighboring places.
But what was this person like as a man? There are several personal accounts of him showing just how big of a heart he had, and what a good person he really was. Stories are told of how benevolent he was to his servants and household help even when they commit petty [Read more…]
The captivating Dubai Creek is the other half of the dualistic charm of Dubai. Set against the soaring and sleek skyscrapers of the modern emirate, this old world district intertwines with the urban to form the ultra dynamic city known today.
The salt water creek runs through the middle of Dubai, virtually splitting the city in two. The northern end is known as Deira Dubai, while the southern end is the Bur Dubai. Throughout history, the creek has been known as the focal point of Dubai’s trade and history. [Read more…]