Egypt: The Great Pyramids of Giza and ancient temples, tombs and treasures that line the vast River Nile have been attracting visitors to Egypt for over 4,000 years. Everyone from the ancient Greeks to Barack Obama have come to stand in awe beside the last remaining Wonder of the Ancient World. Although the pyramids have come to symbolise this exotic destination, they’re just a small portion of what this timeless land has to offer.
Greece: Greece should be on every traveller’s wish list. Considered the birthplace of Western civilization, it has history at every turn – sun-bleached temples, statue-stuffed museums and time worn towns, where one day melts into the next. The miles of aquamarine coastline, endless skies and island studded seas, bathed in blistering light, are not only pleasing on the eye, but a magnet for anyone who appreciates the great outdoors. Then there’s the Greeks themselves, despite the recent ups and down, they remain warm hearted and hospitable, rich in culture, welcoming you to their festivals and feasts; rest assured, the one constant in Greece, is that you will go home well fed!
Israel: Israel is an ancient land where cities’ ages are measured in millennia rather than years. Occupying only a small strip along the Eastern Mediterranean, its huge historic footprint reads like a roll-call of world empires and major religions. The flipside to Jerusalem’s ancient holy sites are the golden beaches and skyscrapers of Tel Aviv. Church bells alternate with the chants of the muezzins in the mosques. The dizzy heights of the Masada Fortress cast sweeping views over the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth. The shifting sands of the Negev Desert engulf an impossibly green valley, cultivated with vines. These opposing elements all contribute to a social, political and cultural environment, pulsating with energy, creativity and beauty.
Jordan: A land rich in natural wonders and sites so ancient, that by comparison, the Crusader forts guarding the old trade routes are considered recent additions. Moses is said to have led his people through the parched Jordanian deserts. Alexander the Great paved the way for Hellenistic cities and culture, while the Natabeans carved grandiose buildings, temples and tombs out of the red Petra sandstone. Later still, Jordan became an important trading centre of the Roman Empire and lavish backdrop for some of history’s most enthralling tales. Remarkably, the landscape has changed little in the last 2,000 years.
Turkey: Turkey has always been a country in demand. Over the course of several thousand years, it has seen the rise of powerful civilizations and been a historic focal point. The Hittites were followed by the Greeks and Romans. Many of their ancient cities still boast magnificent ruins. Istanbul holds the honour of having been the capital of two huge empires – first the Byzantine then the Ottoman. Anatolia itself became a crossroads of peoples, cultures and religions. Set against a scenic backdrop of unrivaled natural beauty and still surprisingly affordable by Western standards, it’s easy to see why Turkey is centre stage once more.
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