ABOUT Cappadocia (Kapadokya) is an architectural masterpiece in the semi-arid region of central Turkey. It is made famous by the hot air balloon industry capitalizing on the picturesque backdrop of cone-shaped rock formations known as ‘fairy chimneys.’ This rocky wonderland is only the surface. Honeycombed below is an inspiring network of man created caves. The complexities of the caves are unbelievably enormous-which include stables, churches, living quarters, and storage houses. 36
The Middle East is full of ancient history, beautiful arid landscape, and exquisite architecture that is a feast for the eyes. Home to incredible food, poetry, and art, the Middle East is fertile with historical sites and unique culture.
There are many places to travel in the Middle East, and all of them are full of amazing and awe-inspiring sights. Discover the opulence of Dubai, home to the world’s tallest man-made structure and some of the finest contemporary art galleries, travel to Turkey and be dazzled by traditional Dervish dancers before taking a relaxing soak in an ornate Turkish Bath, or explore the beauty of Iran, from its ancient Mesopotamian history to its modern international culture.
The Middle East is a completely unique travel destination. One look at the richly detailed architecture and it is easy to see why it’s considered to be the area where civilization began. When you travel in the Middle East, you might find yourself sipping coffee at a street side cafe, or nibbling on a juicy kebab and wandering the bustling streets.
A country that’s considered a religious mecca for so many, Jews, Muslims, and Christians from across the globe flock to Israel for its historic architecture and many ruins. Visit the Old City in Jerusalem and move from quarter to quarter — each dedicated to a different religious sect — walk the extensive Bahai Gardens in Haifa and marvel at their symmetrical perfection and quietude, and float in the Dead Sea to nourish your skin with its infamous black mud.
With historic ruins that were once the ruling center for a number of dynasties, including the Qajar Dynasty, Iran features some of the most beautiful palaces, mosques, and gardens in the world. From the Tombs of Hafez in Persepolis to the Golestan Palace in Tehran, there are plenty of historic sites to visit that date back to the Persian empire.
United Arab Emirates
Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, has grown into a global city and the center of business for the Middle East. The incredible wealth drawn from oil production over the decades has lead to remarkable infrastructure projects like the World Islands and the Dubai Miracle Garden. Dubai’s culture is now one that embraces a lavish lifestyle, with luxurious hotels and world-class restaurants packing this energized city on the Gulf.
When you travel to Turkey, be sure to spend a night in a cave hotel and visit the underground chapels and museums of Cappadocia. The region is also famous for its hot air balloons, so take in the aerial views from the basket of a colorful balloon. Take off at dawn to watch the sun rise over the dramatic vistas for a truly unforgettable experience.
Make sure to pick up some pottery when you travel to Turkey. The city of Avanos has an incredible ceramics tradition, so be sure to snag a vase or two as a souvenir. Many ceramicists will even give demos of their craft in their shops, and some will even let you try your hand at the pottery wheel.
When you travel to Turkey, the Turkish Baths are a must! Not only is the experience incredibly relaxing, the baths themselves are insanely beautiful. Bath conductors will scrub down your body on warm marble slabs, and you can even get a massage if you’d like.
When packing for Middle East travel, step into the flowing local style with a loose-fitting fringed wool knit poncho, a pair of Paris tweed espadrilles for your feet, and a Camilla halo from Grace Bijoux for an accent of antiquity.
Read our specific destination guides for more travel spots in the Middle East and packing advice, and start planning your Middle Eastern adventure today with Packed Perfectly!