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MIDDLE EAST

THE LAND AND HISTORY

What is the Middle East in the middle of?

At one time, it was common to refer to the Near, Middle, and Far East. Though two of the terms have fallen into disuse, the Middle East is still commonly used. The Near East, at its greatest extent in the sixteenth century, once referred to the Ottoman Empire, which included Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. The Middle East referred to the area from Iran to India to Myanmar (formerly Burma). The Far East used to refer to Southeast Asia, China, Japan, and Korea.

Where is the Middle East today?

It is generally agreed that the Middle East includes Egypt, Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the countries of the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Qatar), Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey, and Iran. Most regional specialists also include the countries of northern Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya). The new countries of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia (former Soviet republics) are also often included in the region.

What was the Ottoman Empire?

The Ottoman Empire began as a tiny state in the fourteenth century. It was centered in the city of Bursa in what is now northeast Turkey, and it rapidly expanded through the conquest of neighboring states. Its greatest expansion was in the sixteenth century, when it included southeastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Due to wars with other European countries in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the

Why is the Dead Sea dead?

Water in the Dead Sea is extremely salty (nine times the saltiness of normal ocean water) and kills nearly all the plant and animal life that flows into the sea from the Jordan River. The Dead Sea lies on the border of Israel and Jordan and is the lowest land elevation on Earth, sinking to 1,378 feet (420 meters) below sea level.

Ottoman Empire began to decline and became known as the "sick man of Europe." The Empire's successor was Turkey, which became an independent country in 1922.

Is the Middle East a desert?

Actually, very little of the region is filled with sand dunes and sand storms. Coastal areas are temperate, and several areas boast very pleasant and moist Mediterranean climates. A lack of water is a problem for agriculture throughout the region, so countries are experimenting with technological solutions such as desalinization plants and drip-agriculture for water conservation.

Can you ski in the Middle East?

Yes, you can ski in the Middle East. Since many parts are mountainous, thousands of people ski in such places as Dizin and Shemshak, Iran, and in Faraya, Lebanon. People can even ski in Dubai, along the coast of the Persian Gulf, where each year thousands enjoy skiing in one of the largest indoor ski facilities in the world.

What is a Mediterranean climate?

A Mediterranean climate is a climate similar to the one found along the Mediterranean Sea: hot and dry in the summer and warm and wet in the winter. Areas that are renowned for having Mediterranean climates but are not near the Mediterranean Sea are California and Chile.

Is the Empty Quarter empty?

The Empty Quarter, also known as the Rub al Khali, is Saudi Arabia's vast, open desert. While the Empty Quarter is devoid of a large population, it is quite valuable, as it contains the world's largest petroleum reserves.

What is the Fertile Crescent?

The Fertile Crescent is an area located in a crescent-shaped region between the Persian Gulf in the east and Israel in the west. The development of this region, located along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, was begun thousands of years ago and was based on the availability of water from these rivers and the fertile soil they deposited. This area was a center of human civilization and was the location of the ancient Mesopotamian Empire.

What commodity makes the Persian Gulf so strategically important?

The Persian Gulf is strategically very important because a large share of the world's petroleum is transported through it in oil tankers. At the southeastern end of the Gulf is the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow chokepoint that can be (and has been) controlled to prevent ships from sailing in or out of the Gulf.

What was Mesopotamia?

This ancient region lay between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, from contemporary southern Turkey to the Persian Gulf. Mesopotamia was the home, at one time or another, to such civilizations as Babylonia, Assyria, and Sumer.

What was Babylonia?

Babylonia was an ancient country along the Euphrates River, in what is now Iraq. It began in the twenty-first century b.c.e. and was led by King Hammurabi in the eighteenth century b.c.e.

When did the Suez Canal begin to operate?

After a decade of construction, the Suez Canal, built by the French, opened on November 17, 1869. The 101-mile-long (162.5-kilometer-long) canal cuts through northeastern Egypt, making a passageway for ships to sail between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, which leads to the Indian Ocean.

Where are Egypt's pyramids?

The most famous group of pyramids in Egypt is located near the city of Giza, which is just outside of Cairo. This group includes the Great Pyramid, which is known as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The pyramids in Egypt served as tombs for Pharaohs and were built from the twenty-seventh to the tenth century b.c.e. Other

The Giza Pyramids located just outside of Cairo, Egypt.

The Giza Pyramids located just outside of Cairo, Egypt.

pyramids are located along the Nile River in southern Egypt and the northern Sudan. Approximately 70 pyramids remain in the region.

 
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