When we think of the Middle East, the first thing that comes to mind is endless miles of desert punctured by lush oasis. However, this part of the world boasts some of the most spectacular natural attractions in the globe! Check out a list of 10 most beautiful natural wonders of the Middle East.
1. Musandam Fjords, Oman
While the Musandam Fjords, Oman have the same geographical features of the fjords in Norway, they are absolutely different in other ways due to the different climates. Where the fjords in Norway are green and lush, with thick coniferous forest, the Musandam Fjords are barren and dry. But this doesn’t make this natural wonder any less spectacular.
2. Socotra Island, Yemen
One of the most amazing natural wonders of the Middle East, this weird and a bit isolated island is also one of the most spectacular wonders of the world. The island was used as a trading base and is mentioned in such ancient texts as Greek Tablets and Travels of Marco Polo. Socotra is a small archipelago of only four islands in the Indian Ocean, and it is so isolated that a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. The Bottle Tree and the Dragon Tree, are among the most striking species. There are also some wonderful beaches.
3. Jeita Grotto, LebanonPhoto: econ.bg
One of the spectacular natural wonders of the Middle East the Jeita Grotto is situated in the small country of Lebanon. North of the capital Beirut, the Jeita Grotto is two interconnected karstic caves of limestone, which are situated in the Nahr al-Kalb valley. Archaeology has found that the caves were greatly inhabited in prehistoric times and stayed undiscovered until 1836. The lower cave was accessible only by boat, and the grotto has been known as a tourist attraction with the addition of walkways and a tunnel, but still access is limited in order to avoid damage. The grotto boasts the world’s largest known stalactite, measuring 27 feet long.
4. Al-Hasa Oasis, Saudi ArabiaPhoto: tripsketch.com
The largest natural oasis in Saudi Arabia and all of Asia, Al-Hasa is located more than 40 miles from the coast of the Arabian Gulf. The oasis encompasses 30,000 acres and is fed by over 60 Artesian springs, irrigating over 3 million date palms and providing water to the million people who live there.
5. The Kaluts, Iran
The Kaluts are a series of eroded towers and walls sticking out of the desert (the Dasht-e Lut) in the province of Kerman, and running for a distance of over 120 miles north to south. The Kaluts are the hottest place and the lowest area in Iran, which stands at 56 m above sea level where the temperature reaches 149F (65C) in the shade! These formations have been created over the millennia by soil erosion water, and wind.
6. The Rub ‘al Khali, Arabian Peninsula
The Rub ‘al Khali is world’s largest sand desert that stretches for about 250,00 square miles, covering parts of Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the UAE, that’s one-third of the Arabian Peninsula. Incredible! The red/orange dunes reach more than 800 feet in places, and due to the lack of water and searing heat, there’s minimal wildlife. Moreover, the Rub ‘al Khali is one of the most oil-rich places in the world.
7. The Dead Sea, Jordan and Israel
Perhaps, the most famous of the natural wonders of the Middle East is the Dead Sea. The healing powers of mineral waters have been known around the world for centuries and nowadays there are numerous spas and resorts on its shores. Being named because nothing can live in its waters, the Dead Sea is located between Jordan, Israel and the West Bank. Lying 1,388 feet below sea level, it is the lowest land elevation on earth. With 33.7% salinity, you can easily float unsupported in it.
8. Bu Tinah Island, Abu Dhabi
One of the ecologically significant natural wonders of the Middle East, Bu Tinah Island is not open to tourists. It’s a small collection of coral reefs and shoals lying within the Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve. The coral reefs are flourishing here despite the conditions that would kill off reefs in other parts of the world. Bu Tinah Island is home to rare and endangered wildlife, including the dugongs and Hawksbill turtle.
9. Wadi Rum, Jordan
Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many civilizations since prehistoric times. A valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock, it is home to a rock formation named the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Nowadays Wadi Rum is inhabited by Zalabia Bedouins, a small population who run eco-tourism businesses taking foreign tourists on climbs and hikes.
10. Mount Damavand, Iran
Mount Damavand is the highest peak in Iran and the Middle East at 18,406 feet above sea level. It has a special role in Persian mythology as well as folklore. It is also the highest volcano in Asia. Mineral hot springs situated on the volcano’s flanks and at the base provide great therapeutic benefits, and there are some public baths opened nearby. Mount Damavand is home to brown bears and leopards as well as wild goats and red sheep.
What do you think of these awesome natural wonders of the Middle East? Please comment below and thanks for reading!