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Ancient Middle East

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More than just the cradle of civilization, the Middle East has long served as a crossroads of trade, culture, and religion. From some of these earliest societies grew a tangle of battling empires that acted out some of our greatest histories and our greatest military feats and defeats, all the while fostering the science, philosophy, and religions that formed the foundation of civilization as we know it today.
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Jordan
As is often the case with travel expectations, there’s so much more to a site than what we can see in the confines of a screen or read in black and white letters on a page. Often the real place is a shock of depth, colors and aromas, and the way...
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Persepolis, Iran
Walking through the ancient city gate, I was already giddy with the atmosphere of the ruins, such a tangible touch of the past. The Persian empire was one of the greatest empires of antiquity and the longest lasting, with its succession of...
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Osman Ben Affan St, Doursoumian bldg, P.O.Box 11-4215, Baalbek, Lebanon
I went to Lebanon in spring to visit friends. But also because in the back of my head I thought, "This might be the last time that I'll be able to safely see Lebanon intact for a while." While car bombs had gone off in Beirut in recent weeks, and...
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Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
Delighted to walk through museums where one can touch and feel the displays, I explored the art, history, and culture of the United Arab Emirates and neighboring Arabian Peninsula. The ancient history of settlements in the UAE’s corner of the...
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Jerusalem
Jerusalem is considered one of the most spiritual cities in the world and sacred to all religions for its significant monuments, mostly centered in the Old City. Tour the four quarters in the Old City. Walk through Via Dolorosa till you reach the...
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Umm ar-Rasas, Jordan
One of the joys of visiting Umm ar-Rasas is the lack of other people. These extensive ruins may be home to some of Jordan's most magnificently preserved mosaics, but there's hardly ever another visitor in sight. The main focus is St Stephen's...
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Pamukkale, or the Cotton Castle, a cascading mountain of sodium bicarbonate and natural spring waters, was known to the ancients to have healing powers. The early Greeks and Romans built Hieropolis, a huge town complete with two coliseums, Temple...
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To feed a curiosity about the origins of civilization, we decided to take a journey back in time to find an ancient archaeological site called Mt. Nemrut in eastern Turkey we once read about in National Geographic. Our journey started in Istanbul...
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Bethlehem
These days it's easy to cross the border into the West Bank. I highly recommend spending time exploring the other side of the wall. The Church of the Nativity is believed to be located over the cave that marks the birthplace of Jesus of Nazareth....
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Jerusalem
One of the most significant sites in the world. It's easy to come back here over and over to see how the changing light highlights different elements throughout the day.
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Damascus, Syria
Two of the most moving sites that I've ever experienced were the Mosque of Say'yeda Roqayya and the Umayyad Mosque. Both sites are main attractions in Damascus for locals and tourists. The tomb of Say'yeda Roqayya is a beautiful mosaic of gold...
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3 Rue Principale, 37510 Villandry, France
You can spend hours and hours walking through and photographing the phenomenal gardens in the Chateau de Villandry without even thinking about going inside the chateau itself. Changed four times a year to match the seasons the intricate designs on...
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Last summer, Tim and Kathy Turner took a break from the Mont Blanc hiking circuit for a night at Refuge des Mottets, a French backcountry lodge decorated with cowbells and old iron cookware. The Turners, from the United States, were the only...
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4 Rue de la Herse, 68000 Colmar, France
An incredible French restaurant called Les Bateliers lies over the water just near the Rue Turenne Bridge in Colmar, France, providing a one of a kind view of the colorful historical architecture. If you had to choose one place to eat in Colmar,...
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LUBERON LOISIRS E 14 DOMAINE DE LA COUDOULIERE, 83140 Six-Fours-les-Plages, France
A Trek Travel culinary journey biking through Provence begins with a Provençal cooking experience with Michelin-starred Chef Xavier Mathieu at the prestigious Le Phébus hotel. Nestled in the heart of the Luberon, chef Mathieu reinterprets...
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Boulevard Jardin Zoologique, 13004 Marseille, France
Centered around an elaborate water fountain constructed during the Second Empire, the Palais Longchamp is home to the Natural History Museum, with its cabinets of curiosities and zoological specimens, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts. Here...
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3bis Rue Reine Elisabeth, 13001 Marseille, France
Marseille began its life as a trading port founded by the ancient Greeks, and the city’s heart remains at the waterfront. Here, you can witness the city's vibrant Mediterranean soul: Restaurants, cafés and souvenir shops bustle, pavilions host...
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59 Quai de Paludate, 33800 Bordeaux, France
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The crescent-shaped area on the right bank of the Garonne River is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of particular note are the splendid neoclassical buildings constructed during the Age of Enlightenment thanks to the wealth of the wine...