TRAVEL > ASIA > SOUTHWEST ASIA
THE BIRTHPLACE OF CIVILIZATION
Due to the harsh climate and fertile soil, early farming practices developed in Mesopotamia and led to the first civilizations: the ancient Sumerians and Assyrians. Over the centuries, this region has been a passage for trade routes between the continents.
Southwest Asia—The Middle East, as its referred to from the western perspective, at Asia’s connection to Africa and Europe—includes the Anatolian Peninsula: Turkey; ancient lands of Persia: Iran; early Mesopotamia (between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers): Iraq and Syria; the Holy Lands: Lebanon, Israel, Jordan; the Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Oman, and Yemen (and Sinai Peninsula of Egypt).
The Abrahamic monotheistic religions of Judaism, then Christianity, and later Islam, trace their roots to the Holy Lands along the Mediterranean Sea. The spread of Islam is reflective in much of the culture throughout the area: Muslim architecture, calls to prayer heard throughout the day, styles of design and dress, food and spices, and a visible connection to mathematics and nature in design.
Islam is an Arabic word which means “surrender, submission, commitment and peace.”United Religions Initiative
Countries of Southwest Asia (Middle East)
♦ Saudi Arabia
♦ United Arab Emirates
The Holy Land
The Hagia Sophia (meaning “Holy Wisdom” in Greek) has remained one of the most profound wonders of my study of architectural history and one that I always dreamed to visit in person. Fortunate to make this reverie a reality, I was struck with awe by its massive size, vast interior space covered by a 184-foot-high dome, antiquity (you…
The vast city of Istanbul fascinated me with its complex Byzantine and Ottoman history. As the largest of Turkey’s cities, it is filled with architectural and cultural wonders worth visiting. They range from mosques, churches and palaces to museums, parks and bazaars. Magnificent monuments gain roots from the once Roman capitol of Constantinople, followed by the Muslim conquest by the Ottoman sultans who transformed…