In the front of Mosque of Omar, Bethlehem
In 638 AD Omar ibn Al-Khattab visited Bethlehem as an envoy of the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh). He prayed where the Mosque that carries his name now stands.
The existing Mosque was built in 1860 and was last renovated in 1954. The Mosque is a symbol of religious co-existence in Bethlehem.
It was built on lands donated by the Greek Orthodox Church to the Muslims, and it is the only Muslim shrine of worship in the Old City of Bethlehem.
The Church of St. Catherine is a Catholic church and Franciscan monastery connected to the mostly Ort...
The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is a major Christian holy site, as it marks the traditional p...
This is the Apse of the Orthodox Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Underneath is the grotto of th...
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.