The Middle East and North Africa

Our archive of travel stories from Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Israel

The Dome of the Rock

Jerusalem

A predawn haze lit the kilometre of road before us. We trudged along it, still groggy from the half hearted slumber of our bus ride [...]

Tout Like an Egyptian

Tout Like an Egyptian

A train deposited Iain and I in Aswan four hours behind schedule. A crowd of soldiers in combat uniforms guarded the platform, torso sized shields [...]

A man in a galabiyya selling cucumbers

Cairo’s Small Courtesies

It is in small courtesies that cultures first come together or clash, whether at the pyramids or in chance-meetings on medieval streets, aboard ferries or a badly driven minibus.

Petra

Petra

Deep in the desert of Jordan we roamed, In a rose tinted city named Petra, borne from stone. Three hundred years before Christ it was [...]

Floating on the Dead Sea

Amman and the Dead Sea

Heavy water rolled gently towards my toes, over thick layers of caked salt, like rock candy, which had sunk to the seafloor. I stepped gingerly [...]

Damascus

Damascus

Sharia ath-Thawra was a jumble of shining yellow taxis, fearlessly zipping between moving metal. Their drivers rested weary elbows on horns, hooting, blind to all [...]

Aleppo's Citadel

Mistaking Aleppo

I woke as we neared the Syrian border, my left cheek clammy and wrinkled. Saliva had collected on the headrest of my reclined bus seat [...]

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

The bedroom was icy. Fresh breaths of arctic air sifted through unseen cracks, under the door, through the glass. My foot lay exposed. I snuck [...]

Gosh, Prayers and Broken Windows

Gosh, Prayers and Broken Windows

My mother and William Turnbull, the author of this article, joined me for a week in Turkey while Claire was away, attending her mother’s wedding. [...]

Ankara

Ankara

A man pressed my thumb down onto the greasy black ink pad, and into the space labelled ‘thumb’ on the page beside it. Forefinger, middle [...]

Suleymaniye Mosque Interior

Ramazan in Istanbul

“Allaaahuu Akbaarr.” The muezzin paused, drew breath. I held out a public phone’s plastic receiver, stretching the wire, and hoped my father on the other [...]

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