A Guide to 45 Must-Know Facts about the Middle East

- Sponsored Links -

26Sultan bagpipes

Sultan bagpipes

Oman has a strong tradition of Scottish bagpipe music, owing to their Sultan having served in a Scottish regiment of the British Army.

27. Qatar, a desert state, is aiming to grow up to 70% of its own vegetables by 2023 thanks to the launch of a new farming system that needs no soil and which recycles irrigation water. The pilot project had been “a great success” and adapted well to Qatar’s harsh growing conditions.

28. Bahrain's government banned Google Earth because it allowed Bahraini citizens to see vast tracts of royal-owned land and palaces next to poor and overcrowded Shi'ite villages.

29. There is an abandoned millionaires resort on the island named Varosha in Cyprus. The Turkish military does not allow anyone inside and hasn't done so for nearly 40 years.

30. Around 762 A.D., the demand for books in Baghdad was so high that any traders who brought books were given the weight of the books in gold in return.

Latest FactRepublic Video:
15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History



In ancient Persia, engineers built a type of evaporative cooler that could store ice, even in the middle of summer. It is called a Yakhchal.

32. Saudi Arabia promotes the practice of marriage between close relatives which has resulted in increased incidences of genetic disorders including thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, spinal muscular atrophy, deafness, and muteness.

33. Petra in Jordan had a more efficient and advanced water collection system compared to ancient Rome. It was capable of supporting 40,000 people in the middle of desert.

34. Iraq shuts down the internet to prevent cheating during school exams.

35. In the 1960s, Baghdad was a modern, flourishing, and a very clean city by 60s standards. Girls played volleyball, men played board games in open air cafes while sipping strong Arabic coffee, the police force looked purposeful and the traffic was orderly.

- Sponsored Links -

361972 Iran blizzard

1972 Iran blizzard

The snow deadliest blizzard in history was recorded in February of 1972 in Iran. Up to 26 feet (7.9 meters) of snow fell over the course of a week in some regions and about 4,000 people died.

37. The Great Pyramid of Giza was once covered in highly polished white limestone before it was removed to be used as a building material for mosques and fortresses.

38. In the town of Aleppo, a man named Mohammad Alaa Jaleel has been maintaining a cat sanctuary, taking in over 100 cats displaced or abandoned during the Syrian Civil War.

39. Saudi Arabia developed robotic camel jockeys because too many 4-year old slave boys were dying. Child slave jockeys were outlawed in 2005.

40. In 2013, rats in Iran grew so big that snipers had to be deployed to combat the cat-sized rats.

- Sponsored Links -

41Penitents Compete

Penitents Compete

Turkey was planning a TV show where a rabbi, a Buddhist monk, an Orthodox priest, and an imam attempt to convert 10 atheists each week, with any converts offered a free pilgrimage to one of the four holy sites. The Diyanet denied permission for an imam to appear and the program was canceled.

42. Ancient Egyptian Gods Horus and Set battled it out for dominion over Egypt by trying to force the other to consume his semen.

43. A man named Omar Borkan Al Gala was kicked out of Saudi Arabia for being "too handsome". While attending Riyadh's annual Janadriyah Festival, religious police escorted him out because they believed women would "fall for him" and become disarrayed from their husbands.

44. Shibam is an ancient mud skyscraper city in Yemen, which has been dubbed the ‘Manhattan of the Desert.’

45. In Israel, on Yom Kippur eve, so much of the population is observing the holiday that the streets are almost completely empty, and secular Israelis have made it a holiday tradition to bike and rollerblade through the empty streets.

- Sponsored Links -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here