The Middle East is a grand epic, a cradle of civilisations and a beautiful, complicated land that’s home to some of the planet’s most hospitable people.

The Middle East’s cities read like a roll-call of historical heavyweights: Beirut, Cairo, İstanbul, Isfahan… Aside from ranking among the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth, these ancient-modern metropolises are places to take the pulse of a region. It is in the Middle East’s cities, too, that you find the stirring, aspirational architecture that so distinguishes the three great monotheistic faiths. There they sit alongside the more secular charms of bazaars and coffee shops that seem to embody all the mystery and storytelling magic of a land that gave us The Thousand and One Nights.

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