Middle Eastern Capitals Guide: The Best Places to Visit Middle Eastern Capitals Guide

Middle Eastern Capitals Guide: The Best Places to Visit

Imagine setting off on an adventure that feels like flipping through the pages of a living history book. Picture yourself wandering through the Middle Eastern capitals, each a unique blend of stories, traditions, and sights that are simply waiting to be discovered.

Let’s embark together on a journey that’s not just about ticking off famous landmarks. It’s about diving into the heart of each city, where the past and present dance together in a vibrant celebration of life.

The Middle East, a fascinating crossroad where Asia, Africa, and Europe meet, is more than just a spot on the map. It’s a mosaic of cultures, a tapestry of historical tales, and a geographical wonderland.

On this page, we want to keep things light and engaging. Our goal? To give you a sneak peek into the must-see spots in the capital cities to visit the Middle East. Think of this as your personal, easy-to-digest guide to the wonders waiting in these ancient, yet ever-so-lively, urban hubs.

The Middle East

Here’s a quick overview of the Middle East:

  1. Geography: The Middle East spans across the southwestern part of Asia and the northeastern part of Africa. It encompasses various landscapes, including deserts, mountains, fertile plains, and coastal areas.
  2. Countries: The Middle East consists of numerous countries, each with its own unique culture and history. Some of the prominent ones include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
  3. Religion: The Middle East is often considered the birthplace of major world religions, including Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. It is home to many holy sites and religious traditions.
  4. History: The Middle East has a rich historical heritage, with civilizations dating back thousands of years, including Mesopotamia, Egypt, Persia, and the Byzantine Empire. It has been a center of trade, culture, and conflict throughout history.
  5. Culture: Middle Eastern culture is diverse and influenced by a variety of factors, including religion, traditions, and the exchange of ideas with neighboring regions. It is known for its art, music, cuisine, and hospitality.
  6. Languages: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hebrew are some of the primary languages spoken in the Middle East, though there is a wide range of linguistic diversity across the region.
  7. Modern Challenges: The Middle East faces contemporary challenges, including political conflicts, regional tensions, and economic disparities. Issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, civil wars, and regional power struggles have shaped its modern landscape.
  8. Economy: The Middle East is a significant player in the global energy market, with many countries rich in oil and natural gas resources. It also has diverse economies, including tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and services.
  9. Tourism: The region attracts tourists with its historical sites, such as the pyramids in Egypt, Petra in Jordan, and the ancient cities of Iran. It offers a blend of ancient history and modern cities with vibrant cultures.
  10. Global Influence: The Middle East’s strategic location and resources make it a region of global importance, with significant influence on international politics, economics, and energy markets.

Capital cities of all the countries in the Middle East

Here’s a table with Middle Eastern countries, their capitals, and approximate population figures. Please note that population figures can change over time.

CountryCapitalPopulation (Approximate)
AfghanistanKabul38 million
BahrainManama1.5 million
CyprusNicosia1.2 million
EgyptCairo100 million
IranTehran84 million
IraqBaghdad40 million
IsraelJerusalem9 million
JordanAmman10 million
KuwaitKuwait City4 million
LebanonBeirut6 million
OmanMuscat5 million
Palestine (West Bank / Gaza)Ramallah / Gaza City5 million
QatarDoha3.5 million
Saudi ArabiaRiyadh34 million
SyriaDamascus18 million
TurkeyAnkara83 million
United Arab EmiratesAbu Dhabi9 million
YemenSana’a30 million

Please keep in mind that population figures can change, so it’s advisable to consult the most recent data from official sources for precise numbers.

Middle Eastern capitals by date of fundation

Here’s the table organized by the oldest to newest capitals in the Middle East:

CapitalDate of FoundationCulture or Empire
Jericho (West Bank)Around 8000 BCPrehistoric Inhabitants
Gaza City (Palestine – Gaza)Around 3500 BCAncient Canaanite, Roman, Islamic
Jerusalem (Israel)Around 2000 BCCanaanite, Israelite, Various
Damascus (Syria)Around 1100 BCAncient Aramean, Roman, Islamic
Amman (Jordan)13th century BCAncient Ammonites
Beirut (Lebanon)15th century BCAncient Phoenician, Roman, Islamic
Ankara (Turkey)13th century BCAncient Hittite, Phrygian, Roman
Nicosia (Cyprus)9th century BCAncient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman
Cairo (Egypt)969 ADFatimid Caliphate (Islamic)
Baghdad (Iraq)762 ADAbbasid Caliphate (Islamic)
Tehran (Iran)13th century ADIlkhanate (Islamic)
Muscat (Oman)6th century ADCaliphate of Oman (Islamic)
Kuwait City (Kuwait)18th centuryArabic (Sheikhdom of Kuwait)
Manama (Bahrain)18th centuryArabic (Bahraini)
Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)18th centuryArabic (Saudis)
Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)18th centuryArabic (Emirati)
Doha (Qatar)19th centuryArabic (Qatari)
Ramallah (Palestine – West Bank)16th century ADOttoman (Islamic)
Sana’a (Yemen)Around 1000 BCAncient Sabaean, Islamic

Please note that the dates provided are approximate, and the history of these cities can be influenced by various factors over time.

Middle East Capital Cities with UNESCO Sites

Here is a table listing Middle Eastern capitals with UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with the dates of construction for some of these sites:

CapitalUNESCO World Heritage SitesDates of Construction
Cairo, Egypt– Historic CairoVarious periods
– Memphis and its Necropolis – The Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur2580–2560 BC (Great Pyramid)
– Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis16th century BC
Baghdad, Iraq– Samarra Archaeological City9th century AD
Beirut, Lebanon– Anjar8th century AD
– ByblosAround 5000 BC
Damascus, Syria– Ancient City of DamascusVarious periods
– Site of Palmyra1st to 3rd century AD
Jerusalem, Israel– Old City of Jerusalem and its WallsVarious periods
– Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem4th century AD (Church of the Nativity)
Kabul, Afghanistan– Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam12th century
Muscat, Oman– Bahla Fort12th century
– Archaeological Sites of Bat, Al-Khutm, and Al-Ayn3rd millennium BC
Tehran, Iran– Golestan Palace16th century
– Masjed-e Jāmé of Isfahan8th century (earliest parts)
Sana’a, Yemen– Old Walled City of Shibam16th century
– Old City of Sana’aVarious periods

Please note that the dates provided are approximate and may vary based on historical records and renovations.

Middle Eastern Capitals Top Monuments

Creating a detailed table for all Middle Eastern capitals with the three most important monuments or sightseeing places in each, along with their construction dates, is a substantial task. Here’s an abbreviated version of the table:

CapitalMonuments and Sightseeing PlacesDate of Construction
Amman (Jordan)1. Jerash – Roman Ruins1st century BC
2. Amman Citadel – Historic Hilltop SiteVarious periods
Baghdad (Iraq)1. Al-Mustansiriya School – Islamic Architecture13th century
2. Al-Mahmudiyah Mosque – Ottoman Architecture18th century
3. National Museum of Iraq – Ancient Artifacts1920
Beirut (Lebanon)1. Roman Baths – Ancient Ruins1st century AD
2. Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque – Ottoman Design2008
3. National Museum of Beirut – Historical Art1937
Cairo (Egypt)1. Giza Pyramids – Ancient Wonders2580–2560 BC
2. The Egyptian Museum – Pharaonic Treasures1902
3. Cairo Citadel – Historic Fortification12th century
Damascus (Syria)1. Umayyad Mosque – Islamic Architecture715
2. Azm Palace – Ottoman Architecture18th century
3. Old City of Damascus – Ancient SouksVarious periods
Jerusalem (Israel)1. Western Wall – Sacred Jewish Site19 BC
2. Dome of the Rock – Islamic Shrine691
3. Church of the Holy Sepulchre – Christian Site4th century
Kabul (Afghanistan)1. Babur’s Garden – Historic Park16th century
2. National Museum of Afghanistan – Artifacts1919
3. Darul Aman Palace – Afghan Architecture1920s
Kuwait City (Kuwait)1. Kuwait Towers – Modern Landmarks1979
2. Grand Mosque – Islamic Architecture1986
3. Liberation Tower – Iconic Skyscraper1993
Manama (Bahrain)1. Bahrain Fort – Ancient Ruins3rd century BC
2. Al Fateh Grand Mosque – Islamic Architecture1988
3. Bahrain National Museum – Historical Art1988
Muscat (Oman)1. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque – Islamic Design2001
2. Mutrah Corniche – Scenic WaterfrontOngoing development
3. Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts – Historic Sites16th century
Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)1. Kingdom Centre Tower – Modern Skyscraper2002
2. Masmak Fortress – Historical Fortification1865
3. National Museum of Saudi Arabia – Artifacts1999
Sana’a (Yemen)1. Old City of Sana’a – UNESCO World HeritageVarious periods
2. Al Saleh Mosque – Islamic Architecture2008
3. Dar Al-Hajar – Rock Palace1930s
Tehran (Iran)1. Golestan Palace – Historic Royal Complex16th century
2. Azadi Tower – Iconic Monument1971
3. National Museum of Iran – Archaeological Art1937

Consider this list above as your travel appetizer, a taste of the incredible feast of sights and experiences each Middle Eastern capital has to offer. We’re spotlighting just a handful of the many awe-inspiring monuments and must-visit spots, but remember, each city is a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be uncovered by the curious traveler.

Also, a little heads-up about the construction dates of these historical marvels: they’re ballpark figures. Given the layers of history, renovations, and the ever-evolving story of each site, the dates might have a bit of wiggle room. Think of them as a guide to the era, rather than a set-in-stone timestamp.

So, let’s dive in, but always keep in mind that this is just the beginning of the adventure. Each city holds countless more secrets and stories, eagerly awaiting your footprints.