Backpacking in Middle East
When we talk about backpacking in the Middle East, we must first determine what the Middle East is. For us, the Middle East here means the Arab states in the Middle East and Israel. We also include Egypt, the Palestinian Territories and Turkey. We leave Cyprus out of this. More on that under Europe. You must be careful not to equate the German concept of the Middle East with the English concept of the Middle East. After we have clarified this, we turn to backpacking in the region.
The Middle East is not exactly known as the backpacker Mecca, although Mecca is also located in the region. This has to do above all with the fact that the security situation in various Arab countries is not exactly the best. We don’t want to animate anyone to go to the crisis areas (this applies to all crisis regions in the world), but only to point out the beauties and the charms. It will certainly be peaceful again soon in this region and you can enjoy such interesting cities as Baghdad, Sanaa in Yemen, Gaza in the Palestinian Autonomous Territories in the Gaza Strip, Beirut in Lebanon, Damascus in Syria and Tehran in Iran again.
Keep your eyes open in the travel warnings of the Federal Foreign Office and travel to the respective region when the storm has died down. You can visit such magnificent and historically interesting cities as Jerusalem in Israel, Riyadh in the United Arab Emirates, Aman in Jordan, Cairo in Egypt or Istanbul and Ankara in Turkey. From a tourist point of view, the south of Turkey is probably the most developed. Also attractive for backpackers is the north of the country with the little frequented Black Sea coast.
Also in Egypt you will find a well developed tourist infrastructure around the Red Sea, which appeals above all to diving and water sports enthusiasts. As backpackers, destinations such as the Valley of the Kings, the Nile and the Pyramids are certainly real highlights on your trip through the Middle East.
Culture in the Middle East
Early on, the area known today as the Middle East was known to most as the Orient or Orient. However, the Middle East was also integrated into it. Even as the Middle East the region is called blurred. Many terms, but also many cultures. Even if the Arabic culture dominates today, the ancient tribal cultures with their thousands of years old rites and customs are still alive in the respective countries.
The Kurdish cultures that have settled in eastern Turkey, Iran and Iran have little in common with the culture in Mesopotamia, the Euphrates and Tigris. The latter is regarded as one of the first high culture regions of mankind. Even the Sumerians left behind magnificent buildings that are still visible today. The first human traces in Mesopotamia date back to the middle of the 11th millennium BC. Linguistically, most tribes also have little in common with each other. You can usually get by with English on your backpacker trip, but far away you might have to understand languages like Dari, Fārsi, Urdu, Pashto, Persian, Kurdish or Hebrew.
Traveling in the Middle East region is anything but easy. In some regions you won’t get into at all. That always depends on the situation at hand. What is like that today can be completely different tomorrow. Travelling is also difficult because many roads do not exactly correspond to European patterns. Neither is the equipment of the means of transport. However, backpacking in the region is inexpensive. Usually you can also travel with your thumb.
A whole range of exciting destinations await you on your backpacker journey through the Middle East. You should definitely have taken a dip in the Dead Sea once. Even non-swimmers won’t sink because of the high salt content. One of the most inaccessible desert regions is the Empty Quarter. You shoot fantastic pictures, that’s for sure. The stone carved cities Petra and Madain Saleh seem fantastic to you. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Palmyra ruins lie at a picture book oasis. And if you want to visit a picture-book desert, Varzaneh is the right place for you. A salt lake is in the immediate vicinity.
Take a look at the remains of Persepolis, the former seat of the Persian Empire, or visit the archaeological sites of Samarra. The Sea of Galilee has already been described in the Bible, as has the Sea of Galilee. The ancient city of Shibam is considered the Manhattan of the desert, but with more than 500 years it is much older than the North American Manhattan.