Concours d’Elegance is an automobile competition that judges the designs and styles of elegant, sumptuous classic cars. It started in Paris in the 1920s, the period just after “Belle Epoque.” At that time, Paris, a city full of art and hedonism, became the world’s cultural capital. In the up-scale social Parisian circles, people became infatuated with the extravagance of automobiles, the forefront of all the latest technologies. Owners of these new machines would gather at beautiful venues, such as a castle by a lake or a garden with immaculate lawns to show off their gorgeous vehicles. This competition was a product of the unique time in the automobile industry when luxurious cars were either made to order or the production was very limited in number. After Concours d’Elegance won the hearts of people in France, it went over the Alps and reached Italy, which also had a passion for the arts.
Modern civilization began right here in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley. Also known as the Fertile Crescent or Mesopotamia, this is the place where, six thousand years ago, agriculture, writing and mathematics were brought into widespread use.The term "Middle East" comes from the British navy, which used it to describe the countries on the trade route from Europe to India and China. Everything from Afghanistan to Morocco may possibly be classified as "middle eastern", depending on whom you ask -- and when.Only a partial list of past Empires in the middle eastern territory includes Sumeria, Babylonia, Persia, the Ottoman Empire and the Roman Empire!When northern Europe was still lurking about in slimy cold stone castles playing chess, the Middle East was enjoying the flowers of poetry, luxurious craftsmanship, music and literature. In fact, the Renaissance in Europe was partly inspired by stories brought back from the middle east by travelers along the trade route.Strategic location, religious history and the world's largest supply of crude oil have kept the Middle East at the center of world activity for centuries. The saga continues.Text by Steve Smith.