THE BIRTHPLACE OF CIVILIZATION

The Middle East—the western portion of Asia, connecting it to Africa and Europe—includes the area surrounding early Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and includes the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt and Turkey.

Early farming practices that developed there due to the drastic climate and fertile soil lead to the first civilizations: the Sumerians and Ancient Egyptians. The region has long been a passage for trade routes between the continents.

The Abrahamic monotheistic religions of Judaism, then Christianity, and later Islam, all have their roots here. The spread of Islam is reflective in the culture: Muslim architecture, calls to prayer heard throughout the day, styles of design and dress, food and spices.

Middle East