Archive for the 'Middle-East' Category

08
Apr
11

The people of the Sultanate of Oman

The total population of Oman is estimated to be 2.875.000. The overall population density was only about 9 persons per sq km (about 20 per sq mi). The capital is Masqat (Muscat). The adjacent town of Matrah is a leading port.

 The population is overwhelmingly Arab, but significant minorities of Indians, Pakistanis, and East Africans are found in the principal ports. The majority of the population is Ibadhi Muslim; Sunni Muslims form the other major religious group. Arabic is the official language.

Women play a more active and visible role in society in Oman than in most of the Arabian peninsula, where the role of women is still restricted. They have received encouragement and support from the government, which provides schooling and university education for girls on a par with that for boys, and has decreed that women should be given career opportunities and equal pay.

In the capital many women now have jobs, especially with the government. In the countryside women have always played an active role in the agricultural communities. For the most part Omani women are not veiled, although the women of some tribes still wear the burqa or face mask and black cloak, the abaya. The majority of Omani women, however, wear very colorful clothes arranged in loose and flowing layers. They are generally not self-effacing and may be willing to talk to strangers, once the ice has been broken. But they are deeply Muslim and should always be treated with deference and respect.

Advertisements
07
Apr
11

Dubai desert, a place for adventurous people

The deserts in Dubai are the silent spectator of the transformation of this Gulf country. Located in the coast of the Arabian Gulf the deserts in Dubai are intrinsically linked with the history of Dubai. Dubai desert is perhaps one of the astonishing creations that can be found in this earth. It’s pretty hard to locate a desert that has developed to reach where Dubai is at the moment.

In the middle of that desert are the tallest and well-designed buildings that can be found in the Middle East. The Dubai desert has grown in leaps and bounds not only due to tourism but also as a result of business and good governance. The sparkling sand of the Dubai desert is one of the major attractions to those who visit there always. It’s a wonder since you will be able to walk on the finest sand possible. What can be said to describe the real beauty of the great mountains and plains present in this part of the world. One must literally marvel at the finesse of the Mother Nature in letting the dwellers to access these places very easily. They are a little different from what are available in other parts of the world because of the challenge that comes while trying to access them. You will appreciate facing a rare challenge such as your car getting stuck in loose soil that’s completely dry.

 Furthermore, while in Dubai, you can opt to take some lessons that would offer you a lifetime experience, which is a rare thing somewhere else. You can opt to learn a skill in desert driving hence making you able to go to the many different places alone. It’s a lip smacking place for all those daredevils out there. In addition to the natural sceneries that are found in Dubai and its environs, there are also many festivities that act as major tourist attractions. There are many things that happen such as sports and many other cultural festivals, which attract many people around the world. The warmth and friendliness extended by inmates here, and the friendly business environment would make you rejoice every minute of stay.

To be able to tour Dubai desert, it’s important that you plan well in advance. The heat is above what is available in other parts of the world. This may do some harm to your skin hence ensure that you take the necessary precautions. Carry enough water with you whenever you are touring anywhere in the desert since you will face the possibility of getting dehydrated. This should not scare you at all but should fuel your desire of wanting to tour that place a lot. Especially when you are visiting there during summer, you should get prepared to face scorching heat, unending dust and many more characteristics that typifies this side of the Gulf. Hence it’s important that you get prepared. Have all your preparations in place to avoid getting disappointed when you go there. You will definitely be one of those who will appreciate making repeat visits there.

06
Apr
11

United Arab Emirates: Dubai Skyline

Seemingly out of nowhere emerges a city in the middle of a desert. This is Dubai, a city that produces only the best modern architecture in the world. Dubai is one of 7 emirates in the United Arab Emirates. The city has a population of 2.2 million.  

The earliest recorded mention of Dubai is in 1095, and the earliest settlement known as Dubai town dates from 1799. Dubai was formally established in the early 19th century by the Al Abu Falasa clan of Bani Yas, and it remained under clan control when the United Kingdom assumed the protection of Dubai in 1892. Oil was discovered in the region in 1966. This led to the city growing by 300% and caused an influx of foreigners.  

Already home of the world’s tallest all-hotel building, and the 2nd tallest all-residential building in the world, AND currently building the world’s tallest structure, this skyline might just leap to the number 1 spot in the near future. Well, maybe not. Although there is a lot of hype around the city, experts agree it still lacks that certain mature socio-cultural infrastructure and a pattern to the skyline that gives a city that certain fingerprint. As a skyline it can’t compete with the larger cities, however the individual buildings in this city are by far the greatest examples of modern architectural accomplishments. All 33 structures in this city over 200 meters tall were built in 1999 or later, that’s how new this city is! 

03
Apr
11

Persepolis and the Persian Empire : a historical place in Iran

Now an archaeological site in Iran, the ancient city of was founded by Darius I in 518 BC as the capital of the Achaemenid Persian Empire.  On an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace, the great king created an impressive palace complex inspired by Mesopotamian models. The importance and quality of the ruins at Persepolis led to its recognition by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

 Though evidence of prehistoric settlement at Persepolis has been discovered, inscriptions indicate that construction of the city began under Darius I the Great (reigned 522–486 BC). As a member of a new branch of the royal house, Darius made Persepolis the new capital of Persia (replacing Pasargadae, the burial place of Cyrus the Great). Built in a remote and mountainous region, Persepolis was an inconvenient royal residence, visited mainly in the spring. The effective administration of the Achaemenian Empire was carried on from Susa, Babylon, or Ecbatana. This accounts for the Greeks being unacquainted with Persepolis until Alexander the Great’s invasion of Asia.  In 330 BC, Alexander the Great plundered the city and burned the palace of Xerxes, probably to symbolize the end of his Panhellenic war of revenge.

In 316 BC Persepolis was still the capital of Persis as a province of the Macedonian empire, but the city gradually declined in the Seleucid period and after. In the 3rd century AD the nearby city of Istakhr became the centre of the Sasanian empire. Today, relatively wellpreserved ruins attest to Persepolis’ ancient glory.  The site of Persepolis is characterized by a large terrace with its east side leaning on the Kuh-e Rahmat (Mount of Mercy). The other three sides are formed by a retaining wall, varying in height with the slope of the ground from 13 to 41 feet (4 to 12 m). On the west side, a magnificent double stair in two flights of 111 easy stone steps leads to the top.  On the terrace are the ruins of a number of colossal buildings, all constructed of a dark gray stone (often polished to the consistency of marble) from the adjacent mountain.

Many of the original giant stones, cut with the utmost precision and laid without mortar, are still in place. Especially striking are the huge columns, 13 of which still stand in Darius the Great’s audience hall, known as the apadana. There are two more columns still standing in the entrance hall of the Gate of Xerxes, and a third has been assembled there from its broken pieces.  

In 1933 two sets of gold and silver plates recording in the three forms of cuneiform, Ancient Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian, the boundaries of the Persian Empire were discovered in the foundations of Darius’ hall of audience.  A number of inscriptions, cut in stone, of Darius I, Xerxes I, and Artaxerxes III indicate to which monarch the various buildings are to be attributed. The oldest of these on the south retaining wall gives Darius’ famous prayer for his people: “God protect this country from foe, famine and falsehood.”  

There are numerous reliefs of Persian, Median, and Elamite officials, and 23 scenes separated by cypress trees depict representatives from the remote parts of the empire who, led by a Persian or a Mede, made appropriate offerings to the king at the national festival of the vernal equinox. Behind Persepolis are three sepulchres hewn out of the mountainside, whose facades are richly ornamented with reliefs. Persepolis is located about 32 miles (51 km) northeast of Shiraz in the region of Fars in southwestern Iran, near the confluence of the small river Pulvar with the Rud-e Kor.