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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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Wadi Musa, Jordan
Petra flourished more than 2,000 years ago, trading with Rome as an equal before being abandoned after a series of earthquakes in the 4th and 6th centuries C.E. It wasn’t until the 19th century, when European explorers...
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Osman Ben Affan St, Doursoumian bldg, P.O.Box 11-4215, بعلبك، 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
The Western Wall (also called the Kotel) is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple’s courtyard in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism, outside the Temple Mount itself. The plaza...
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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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Bethlehem
The Church of the Nativity, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located south of Jerusalem in Bethlehem in the West Bank. It was originally commissioned by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great in 327 and built over the cave where Jesus is said to...
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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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2 Place des Alpilles, 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
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...