If you're a big fan of historic sites, there's no better reference to guide you other than UNESCO 's World Heritage Sites list . Fortunately enough, a bunch of sites in the Middle East have been declared part of the list.
If you want to start traveling the world, checking historic sites off your bucket list, these 9 places should be a good starting point:
1. Pearling Trail, Bahrain
Dubbed as "Pearling, Testimony of an Island Economy" by UNESCO, this 3.5 km trail located on the island of Muharraq in Bahrain, consists of 17 buildings in Muharraq City, three offshore oyster beds and a segment of the coast and the seafront Bu Mahir fortress. The site is considered the last remaining complete example of the cultural tradition of pearling that dominated the Gulf economy from the 2nd century all the way through until the 1930s.
2. Qadisha Valley, Lebanon
Ouadi Qadisha, the Holy Valley, is considered one of the most important early Christian monastic settlements in the world, having been added to UNESCO's list in 1998. Its historic monasteries are a must visit.
3. Wadi Al-Hitan, Egypt
Located in Al Fayyum Governorate, about 150 km southwest of Cairo, this "Whale Valley" was added to UNESCO's World Heritage Site list in 2005. Home to hundreds of fossils of some of the earliest forms of whales, the site is also home to 15 species of desert plants, sand dunes and about 15 types of wild mammals.
4. Frankincense Trail, Oman
Located on the Incense road in Oman, the site includes frankincense trees, Khor Rori and the remains of acaravan oasis, which played an important role to the medieval incense trade. The Frankincense Trail has been declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
5. Wadi Rum, Jordan
Also known as the Valley of the Moon, this red desert area is a must visit for anyone traveling the Middle East. A valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in Southern Jordan, it is considered the largest wadi in Jordan. The site was added to UNESCO's World Heritage Site list in 2011.
6. Al Turaif district, Saudi Arabia
Declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016, the Turaif district is considered to be the first capital of Saudis. The Turaif district is located in Diriyah, the original home of the Saudi royal family.
7. Leptis Magna, Libya
Part of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites list since 1982, Leptis Magna was a prominent city of the Roman empire. The ruins are located in Khoms, Libya and remain as one of the most beautiful Roman ruins in the Mediterranean.
8. Old Walled City of Shibam, Yemen
Declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, the Yemeni city is known for its distinct architecture and is often referred to as the "Manhattan of the desert." The houses in the area are all made out of mud brick. The city has been in existence for around 1,700 years. Its houses originated in the 16th century, many of which have been rebuilt numerous times.
9. Shrine Ensemble in Ardabil, Iran
Registered on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 2010, the shrine in Ardabil is the tomb of Sheikh Sadi-ad-din Ardabili that was built between the beginning of the 16th century and the end of the 18th century. It is a place of spiritual retreat in the Sufi tradition. It includes a library, a mosque, a school, a hospital and more .