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The 5 Holiest Cities in the Middle East

Middle East is home to some of the holiest cities in the world. We often need to take a break from everyday life and remind ourselves what is essential in our lives. If it is faith that recharges your energy, you may consider visiting a sacred city where many people find inspiration for their lives, renew and reaffirm their faith. We, therefore, created a list of the top 5 most religious cities in the Middle East.

1. 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.

2. Mecca

Being regarded as the holiest city for Islam, Mecca attracts millions of people every year. Mecca is the birthplace of Muhammad, and therefore it is obligatory for all Muslims with the physical and financial ability to visit it at least once in his lifetime. But keep in mind that Mecca is not a tourist place but rather a holy place for Muslims, and therefore non-Muslims may not enter Mecca. So, pay respect and plan your visit to this city only if your intentions are religion-based.

3. Medina

Medina is one of the three holiest cities for Islam, alongside with Mecca and Jerusalem. It is the place where Prophet Muhammed is buried and also his final resting place. As in the case of Mecca, also Medina can be visited only by Muslims, and the penalty for violation of this rule is deportation from the country.

4. 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.

5. 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.