Ancient town Thilā with water reservoir - Yemen
Thula is a historical town located 45 kilometers to the northwest of Sana'a. The city is famous for its archeology and Al-Ghurab Mountain which is 2350 meters above sea level. In a precaution against invasion, the city was surrounded by a wall extending for two thousand meters. Entry to the city in through seven gates: Bab Al-Mishraq, Bab Al-Salam, Bab Al-Hadi, Bab Al-Faradhah, Bab Al-Mahamid, Bab Al-Meniah and Bab Al-Hisn. There are four barracks separating every gate from the other. The city contains over 25 mosques. http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1719/
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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.