Articles | About us

The 7 Most Historical Cities in the Middle East

Everyone loves to explore history. It can be thrilling, captivating, intriguing, and fascinating. Sometimes you can vividly imagine stories that took place hundreds or even thousands year before. The other time you can simply wonder at unbelievably beautiful buildings, ancient ruins, or preserved monuments.

In any case, by knowing history, we can better understand our own cultures and societies and better explain the state of affairs in the world and why we are here. So, if you are ready to discover our past, where is the better start than the Middle East, the crossroad of the world.

We, therefore, created a list of The 7 most historical cities in the Middle East. If you are a history lover and wish to find more historical cities either in the given region or around the world, you can use our searching tool, which will enable you to choose region, or refine your search with up to 30 different filters.

1. Istanbul

Istanbul lies on two continents and was capital to four empires, thus the city is full of contrasts. In the city, you will find modern skyscrapers, mosques, churches and synagogues. The mix of western and eastern culture can be seen, not only in landmarks, but also in its many delicious meals. The famous Turkish hospitality is a very pleasant bonus as is the traditional Grand Bazaar.

2. Jerusalem

The city where the old meets new is probably the holiest city on the planet since all Judaism, Islam, and Christianity consider it to be essential. Since you can find religious landmarks on every corner, we won't even try to capture them all here because the list would be endless. We instead mention less known attractions in Jerusalem like colorful Old City Bazaar, world-class museums, fantastic food, dozens of festivals throughout the year, or various cultural events. Since Jerusalem is more than 4,000 years old, it comes without saying that there are countless historical sights and architectonic excavations.

3. Isfahan

Once being the capital of the Persian Empire, Isfahan is famous for its Perso-Islamic architecture, magnificent monuments, historical artifacts, tiled mosques, and minarets. But it is not all about history. You can find here also such specialties as one of the biggest squares in the world, which is also part of the UNESCO world heritage list, fantastic food, world-renowned grand bazaar, and many more.

4. Amman

There is so much to see and do in the capital of Jordan. The city was built on seven hills and today is probably best-known for Neolithic archaeological sites where are some of the oldest human statues ever found dating to more than 7000 BC. Amman alone dates back to at least the 13th century B.C. and is full of Roman and Greek historical sites, so history buffs will naturally love this place! But Amman is also quickly becoming a modern city with a delicious culinary scene, or thriving street art, so it indeed is a city for everybody.

5. Nazareth

The city where Jesus grew up is naturally full of biblical sights. Located in the Galilee region, Nazareth is not only an important city for Christianity, but also for the Muslim population of Israel since it is the biggest Muslim city in Israel. You can find here The Synagogue Church where Jesus prayed, studied, and gave his famous sermon on Shabbat, the 65 kilometers (approx. 40 miles) Jesus trail, the route that Jesus might have walked and which connects places from his life, Nazareth village, famous Mary’s Well, and many, many more. Apart from biblical sights, be sure to visit the charming old town, El Rais, which is one of the best examples of Ottoman architecture, or Fauzi Azar Inn, that serves as a guesthouse.

6. Yazd

With unique Persian architecture, the historical city of Yazd is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and it is no wonder. The desert city, as Yazd is sometimes called, may seem dull at first glance, but if you look more closely, you will see that city is one of the most picturesque towns in the region, full of historical sites, and home to one of the most beautiful mosques in Iran. If you love to wander around and get lost down the streets, Yazd is the perfect place for you. By the way, hospitality and friendliness of the people are legendary.

7. Shiraz

Since Shiraz is all one of the oldest cities of the region, the former capital of Persia, and one of the most important cities in the medieval Islamic world, it is not surprising that it was once a thriving center of art, literature, and trade. Nowadays, Shiraz is known as the city of flowers, wine, poets, and literature. While the city lost some of its previous glory, there is still a lot to do and see. There are six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in or around Shiraz, beautiful gardens, stunning Nasir-al-Molk Mosque, or famous Vakil Bazaar. In combination with friendly people and great food Shiraz is a great place not only for history lovers.