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Coming from Suq al-Wadi, at one point it is inevitable that your eyes are drawn towards Dar al Hajar. While the wadi is an oasis of green and quiet not far from the capital San'a, the Rock Palace is its jewel, visible from many corners of the wadi. The closer you get, the higher it seems to become, until you reach the bottom and you have to put your head between your shoulders to be able to look up and admire the building...
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.