All posts filed under: West

Madaba’s Marvelous Mosaics

Humans and art are inseparable. Thanks to the discoveries of cave paintings around the globe from France to Indonesia, dating back more than 40,000 years ago, we now have a better understanding that the urge for Homo sapiens to express what their senses perceive through […]

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Along the Colonnaded Street of Jerash

Several months ago, after so many years of dreaming, I finally got the chance to visit ancient Roman ruins for the very first time in Baalbek, Lebanon. Due to their sheer size, the city’s Temple of Jupiter and Temple of Bacchus are considered the largest […]

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Amman’s Layers of History

In the desert landscape of Wadi Rum, when James and I were sitting in the communal space near our tent to wait for dinner, we spoke to a German man who with his wife and two daughters were also on holiday. We were talking about […]

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Jordan and A Travel Resolution Fulfilled

People make resolutions on the first day of January every year hoping to achieve them by the end of December. Losing some weight, doing more exercise, eating more fruits and vegetables, having a better work-life balance, and spending more time with family are among the […]

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Anjar: From the Umayyads to the Armenians

Since antiquity, the Armenians have always been known as brave, mercantile people who sought opportunities beyond their traditional homeland. For centuries, the Kingdom of Armenia was one of the most powerful entities in this part of the world with its territory straddling three seas: the […]

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The Temple of the Wine God

Day two in Baalbek, and we are awakened after a night-long power cut. It turns out that in this part of Lebanon this disruption in daily life happens more often compared to Beirut. Back in the Lebanese capital we were told that regular blackouts were […]

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A Valley Between the Snows

Lebanon has been amazing so far. While Beirut is enchanting in its own way – a city full of contradictions that make it even more appealing to explore – and Bsharri provides us with a jaw-dropping view of the lush and historic Qadisha Valley, our […]

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Bsharri and the Holy Valley

It had already been seven decades since his death when I first became aware of Khalil Gibran in the early 2000s. His books, translated into Indonesian, were on display at a narrow section of a department store in the small city where I spent my […]

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Into Lebanon’s Snowy Realms

On our final day in Beirut, it was drizzling, just like how the Lebanese capital was throughout most of our stay. While the city had been all I expected it to be – fascinating, chaotic, vibrant, sobering, inspirational – I couldn’t wait to continue the […]

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Beirut Art through the Millennia

It is easy to associate Beirut with the scars of the civil war, and it is understandable if one is completely oblivious to Lebanon’s thriving art scene for the country has been portrayed in the media as one of many dangerous corners of the Middle […]

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Beirut’s Scars and Hope

“Where are you going?” “Lebanon.” “What? Why? What are there to see? Where will you stay?” “I want to see Beirut and …” “Oh, Beirut!” It appeared that to one of my friends, the Lebanese capital has a much more positive reputation than the country […]

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Lebanon: Charming at Every Turn

Mention the Middle East, and many of us would immediately think of endless desert, oil-rich kingdoms, conservative societies, and probably never-ending conflicts. As the second smallest country in this region (only Bahrain is smaller in land area), Lebanon appears to be the odd one out. […]

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