Culture of Kuwait

Oman - People

Oman's population of between 1.5 million and 2 million is an Arab one. Because of the country's history, however, there has been a great deal of intermingling between Omanis and other groups. For over 200 years, there has been an Indian merchant...

Oman - Media

The local English language newspapers are the Times of Oman and the Oman Observer. Foreign newspapers and magazines are available in the larger hotels in Muscat and are usually about three days old. These publications are also available in the...

Living in Bahrain

At least 4000 years ago foreign businessmen settled in Bahrain and, today, one of their settlements at Saar on the island's west coast is a tourist attraction. Cargo ships carrying both basic commodities and luxury goods passed through ancient...

People of Bahrain

A long tradition of association with other cultures, a stable government and a strong sense of national identity make Bahrain a pleasant place to live. It is one of the few countries in the Gulf where the nationals represent the majority. Bahrain's...

Religion of Bahrain

Although Islam is the state religion and 85% of the population are Muslims, there are also Christians, Jews, Bahais, and Hindus. Each group is free to practice its religion.

Language of Bahrain

Arabic is the official language of Bahrain. Farsi is not uncommon, and English is widely used in business.

People of Egypt

Although modern day Egyptians are usually lumped together with "the Arabs" due to their language and Islamic traditions, this is not completely accurate. There is a truly Bedouin Arab grouping within Egypt, the majority still nomadic tribal peoples...

Population of Egypt

The population of Egypt stands at around 58,519,000, with projections placing the population at 65 million by the end of 1997. Although the birth rate has gone down slightly (from 2.8% annually in the 1980s down to 2.3%), the country's population...

Language of Egypt

Arabic is the country's official language. The Egyptian dialect is distinct from all others and, because of the country's dominance of the media (television, cinema, radio and music), the most recognizable and universal. Arab popular singers from as...

Egypt - Religion

Islam is constitutionally established as the official religion of Egypt and around 90% of the population are Sunni Muslim with a small minority of ::I Muslims and other non-Sunni sects represented. Egypt is one of Islam's most influential...

Egypt - Arts and Cinema

The arts With its ancient history, cosmopolitanism, strong Islamic traditions, modern pan-Arab political and intellectual history and relative freedom, Egypt is the cultural capital of Arab world. The Arab television and cinema is dominated by the...

Egypt - Media

Egypt is the capital of Middle Eastern communications with strong journalistic traditions and a relatively free press, the region's most important film, television and recording industries and the largest publishing industry in the Arab world. All...

The Egyptian art of beekeeping

Beehives have been in use in Egypt for almost 5000 years. This is an ancient art which has influenced the entire Mediterranean region, extending eastwards into the Middle East and southward into tropical Africa. Methods used by ancient Egyptian...

Egypt Artist

Egypt Artist - Attyat El Abnoudy Azza Fahmy Randa Fahmy Salwa Bakr Gazbia Sirry Egypt Artist - Attyat El Abnoudy Azza Fahmy Randa Fahmy Salwa Bakr Gazbia Sirry

Languages of Algeria

Arabic is the primary language of around 82% of the populace. Most of the rest of population speak various Berber dialects with Arabic as a second language. French colonialism left French as the second language of many educated Algerians; English...

Media of Algeria

All newspapers, book publishing and broadcasting activities are under the control of the central government. The main Arabic language daily is called El Massaa. The main French-language daily is El Moudjahid. There are no English language newspapers...

Religion in Algeria

Islam is Algeria's official religion and the vast majority of Algerians are Muslim. Since the departure of the French, Christianity is a peripheral religion. However, Algeria's relationship with Islam has been complex and turbulent. The socialist...

Media of Iraq

All privately-owned daily newspapers were closed by a government decree in 1967. In the late 80s, there were seven government-produced daily newspapers, the largest being ath-Thawra, which is issued by the Baath Socialist Party. The government and...

Jordan Culture: Food and Drink

There are many fine restaurants in most Jordanian towns and cities, offering a wide selection of authentic Arabic food at reasonable prices. Larger hotels offer a more international cuisine. The Ministry of Tourism publishes a full list of hotels...

Jordan Culture: Media

Jordan has Arabic, French and English television, as well as radio broadcasts in Arabic and English. The English station (mostly music) transmits on 855 kHz AM and 99 kHz FM in Amman and Aqaba. The English language daily newspaper is the Jordan...

Jordan Culture: Embroidery

This is one of the most important traditional crafts of Jordanian women and one which has, in recent years, been incorporated into high fashion. Elegant gowns and jackets have been created using traditional needlework together with rich, Middle...

Jordan Culture: Ceramics and Pottery

Jordan has many natural clay deposits, which have been used for many centuries in the making of pottery. Early examples of pottery consisted of vessels for food storage, which had been sun-cured and baked in a pit fired with straw and dung. Large...

Jordan Culture: Jewellery

Jewellery has a long history in the Kingdom; stores of gold and silver jewellery dating from Roman times have been unearthed on various archaeological sites. Today, gold jewellery is worn by all strata of society, although the Qur'an discourages...

Jordan Culture: Weaving

The Bedouin people wove many practical items by hand, using sheep's wool and goat and camel hair. Bedouin weaving served many purposes in the nomadic environment: items included bedding-bags, rugs, saddle-bags, food containers and room dividers for...

Jordan Culture: Basketry

Handwoven baskets and trays come in all shapes and sizes and are made from bamboo fronds, split bamboo and palm leaves. Baskets with handles were often used to carry fruits and vegetables to and from market, or to store grain in the home. The large...

Jordan Culture: Blown Glass

Glass was originally made from sand, but is now largely made from recycling old bottles. Hebron glass comes in delicate shades of amber, rose, cobalt and turquoise. Workshops are to be found at Na'ur on the old route to the Dead Sea and in the King...

Education of Lebanon

Lebanon has one of the most educated and technically prepared populations in the Middle East According to statistics of 2001, 95 percent of Lebanese aged 15 and over were literate. Primary education in Lebanon is free and compulsory for five years....

The Arts of Lebanon

The country has reached a high level of cultural achievement in the arts, with a popular form of poetry being zajal, where poets enter into a witty dialogue of improvised verse. The national dance is the dabke, which is performed throughout the...

Media of Lebanon

Lebanese radio airs programmes in French and English. There are more than 10 TV stations broadcasting in Arabic, French and English at different times of the day. There is no local English-language daily newspaper. However, newsagents stock an...

Food and Drink of Lebanon

Although the food varies little from country to country throughout the Middle East, it is when the Arab world meets the Mediterranean that it becomes really interesting. Lebanese food combines the sophistication of European cuisine with the...

People of Lebanon

As in other Arab countries the traditional lifestyle of the Lebanese revolves strongly around the family, socializing and hospitality. Western influences, mainly French and American, have given the country a cosmopolitan facade, mostly in the main...

Media of Libya

Government control over the media has resulted in much of the population preferring to entertain itself by watching videos or foreign stations via satellite, such as CNN. Libyan television programmes are mostly in Arabic with a 30-minute news...

Libyan Food & Drink

Libyan cuisine is a mixture of Arabic and Mediterranean, with a strong Italian influence. Italy's legacy from the days when Libya was an Italian colony can be seen in the popularity of pasta on its menus, particularly macaroni. A famous local dish...

Culture of Libya: The Berbers

The Berbers are an indigenous North African tribe, who originally inhabited the lands of the Jafara plain in north-western Libya, with Zuara as their main centre. During various Arab invasions, however, they were gradually driven back into the Jabal...

Language of Mauritania

French and Arabic are widely spoken. Moors in the south speak a dialect of Arabic, Hassaniyyah, while several other African languages are spoken including those of the Pulaar, Soininke and Wolof peoples. After independence there was a long dispute...

Culture of Mauritania: People

40% of the population is of mixed Moor and black African heritage; another 30 percent of Mauritania's people are Moors (of mixed Arab and Berber ancestry), many of whom lead nomadic existences. More than 90 percent of the population lives in the...

Culture of Mauritania: Traditions

Clans of priest-teachers called marabouts preserve and hand down the Arab-Islamic culture. The best-developed crafts among the Moors are goldsmithing and jewelry making. Drought has caused the disbanding of many clans and the decline of...

Media in Morocco

Morocco has 12 daily national newspapers and many magazines. The international London-based Arabic daily Asharq Alawsat is also printed in Morocco. There are many radio channels broadcasting in several languages and the state television has...

Moroccan pottery

Morocco's varied geology and rich mineral deposits make the country one of the world's largest exporters of phosphates. They have also inspired the production of traditional ceramic tiles and pottery -- a craft industry which is still thriving....

People of Morocco

The Berber were the original people of Morocco and the majority of modern day Moroccans (about40%) are pure Berber with another 35% of Berber extraction. Arabs, who trace their presence in Morocco to the Muslim conquests in the 7th century AD, are...

Language of Morocco

Arabic is Morocco's official language, spoken by about three-quarters of the population. The various Berber dialects are still spoken in rural areas but with less frequency. French is also a common second language among the urban educated classes...

People of Qatar

The people of Qatar are primarily of Arab descent, reflecting the country's close proximity to the Arabian peninsula and its ties of history, language and religion with the other Gulf states. Arab tribes who migrated to the area in the 18th century...

Religion in Qatar

The official religion of Qatar is Islam, and the vast majority of Qataris are Sunni Muslims. The country adopted Islam in the 7th century and has remained committedly devout to the faith since then. Public holidays in Qatar, apart from National Day...

Media in Qatar

The English-language newspaper is the Gulf Daily News. Foreign newspapers and magazines, usually a day or two old, are available in various hotels or large shopping centres. The second TV channel in Qatar broadcasts in English from late afternoon...

Food & Drink in Sudan

Basic foodstuffs are available for purchase in most towns, and local markets are quite well-stocked with fruit, vegetables, peanuts and spices. Despite a recent history of famine and starvation which is now only a memory for large parts of the...

Media in Sudan

The Press There is a wide variety of Arabic and English publications, but they are, too, subject to censorship. Arabic newspapers include al-Ayyam, al-Ray al-'Aam, al-Sahafa, al-Khurtoum, al-Usbuo and Alwan. English publications include the New...

People of Saudi Arabia

The overwhelming majority of Saudi Arabians are Arabs, descended from the indigenous tribes and still today maintaining tribal affiliation. Along the Arabian Gulf coast, there are some Iranians. The number of expatriate workers is large with the...

Religion in Saudi Arabia

Islam along with Judaism and Christianity is one of the world's three great monotheistic religions. Islam is the official religion of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its tenets are enshrined as law. The public practice of any religion other than...

Language of Saudi Arabia

Arabic is a Semitic language. It is spoken and understood in various forms by millions of people throughout the Middle East and beyond. It is one of the official languages of the United Nations. Classical Arabic, the language of the Quran, is used...

Saudi Arabia Culture: Clothing

The religion and customs of Saudi Arabia dictate conservative dress for both men and women. Foreigners are given some leeway in the matter of dress, but they are expected to follow local customs, particularly in public places. As a general rule,...

Saudi Arabia: Calendar

Officially, Saudi Arabia uses the Islamic, or Hijri, calendar. Islamic dates are calculated from the year that the prophet Mohammed migrated (hijra) from Makkah to Medina in the year 622 AD. The Western method of designating Islamic dates is...

The Arts in Saudi Arabia

The Arabian peninsula has a poetic tradition that goes back to pre-Islamic times. Poetry and storytelling are common folk traditions. The Quran limits public performances of music and dance (pictured) and prohibits the making of graven images by...

Media in Saudi Arabia

In 1932 (1350/51 AH), King Abdul Aziz set up his own private radio network in the Kingdom, primarily to enable him and his officials to keep themselves informed of events. Transmission, in the full sense of public broadcasting, began in the Kingdom...

Bedouin Jewellery in Saudi Arabia

Petrological discoveries in Saudi Arabia have revealed rock face carvings that show human forms, lavishly adorned with bracelets, anklets, earrings, pendants and head ornaments. Although these rock sketches are more than seven thousand years old,...

Gahwa - An Age Old Custom of Saudi Arabia

The preparation, serving and drinking of gahwa -- Arabian coffee -- are each individual rituals derived from Bedouin hospitality; traditions that are still bound today by the same ceremony and etiquette which have ruled for centuries. According to...

Saudi Arabia: Hajj - The Pilgrimage to Makkah

Every Muslim's submission to the will of Allah is based on the five 'pillars of Islam', as proclaimed by His Prophet Mohammed (may peace be upon Him): The first pillar is Sha'haddah, the profession of faith: "There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed...

Saudi Arabia Culture: A Middle-Eastern Lilliput

Colonel Darwish Ali Salamah is a self-confessed romantic. When he retired from the Saudi Air Force seventeen years ago, he found that he had time on his hands and art in his soul. "I love to go out into the desert or up into the mountains. I love...

Saudia Arabia Culture: Miswak - The Natural Toothbrush

Public care of one's teeth is perfectly acceptable in Saudi Arabia, and is done with the miswak (pictured), a natural toothbrush-cum-toothpaste. This multi-purpose stick cleans the mouth, whitens the teeth and sweetens the breath, and is widely used...

Saudi Arabia Culture: Tents of The Arabian Desert

The tent has been a dwelling-place for man since the dawn of history. Varying geographical features and differences in the culture of its dwellers may have altered its design, but its essential qualities are unchanging: a tent needs to be flexible,...

Somalia Culture: Frankincense

Frankincense is an aromatic gum resin from trees of the genus Boswellia, which grow in Somalia and southern parts of the Arabian peninsula. The ancient world used it for religious and medicinal purposes. Right up to the Middle Ages it was considered...

The Somali and The Sab

The Somali people speak an Afroasiatic language as well as Arabic. Of the 8.9 million Somalis living in Somalia, 80% belongs to the Somali or Samaale group in the north; the remaining 20% belongs to the Sab, or southern Somali. All believe they are...

Media of Somalia

The government-owned Xiddigta Oktobar, published in Somali, is the only daily newspaper, with some periodicals in Arabic, English and Somali. Two government-owned radio stations, Radio Mogadishu and Radio Hargeisa, broadcast in Arabic, English,...

Syria Culture: The Media

There are four main daily newspapers; two published in Damascus, one in Aleppo and one in Hama. These are all published in Arabic. The Syria Times is the English-language daily, but is strictly controlled by the government and is therefore subject...

People of Tunisia

Over the centuries many peoples, including Romans, Vandals, and Arabs have occupied Tunisia. Tunisians are mostly of Berber lineage, and regard themselves as Arabs.

Language of Tunisia

Arabic is the main language, but French is the dominant language in the media, commercial enterprise, and government departments. Berber-speaking people form less than 1% of the population. In the tourist resorts shop keepers and hotel staff...

Tunisia Culture: Food

Tunisian cooking is a blend of European, Oriental and desert dweller's culinary traditions. Its distinctive spicy fieriness comes from neighbouring Mediterranean countries and the many civilizations who have ruled Tunisian land -- Phoenician, Roman...

Tunisia Culture: Media

There are three French daily newspapers, Le Temps, La Presse, and L'Action. Other international papers can be found in the main cities one day after publication. Government run radio and TV transmit programmes mostly in Arabic, except for Antenne 2...

People of UAE

As a result of the oil boom, less than 50% of the inhabitants of the UAE are Arabs. There are large groups of Indians, Pakistanis, Iranians and Southeast Asians. The population is, however, 95% Muslim. The capital is Abu Dhabi and the second most...

Religion in UAE

The state religion is Islam which reached the area during the lifetime of the Prophet Mohammed. The country's laws and practices are founded upon Islam and the Holy Qur'an.

Population in UAE

The UAE has grown at an extremely rapid pace since its foundation. The population has increased from about 180,000 to its present 2,407,460 million while the revenues from oil have enabled the government to undertake a massive construction...

UAE Culture: The Role of Women

Quotes from the President of the UAE: "Nothing could delight me more than to see Woman taking up her distinctive position in society... Nothing should hinder her progress... Like men, women deserve the right to occupy high positions according to...

People of Yemen

Yemen is one of the world's most ancient countries and played an important part in Middle Eastern trade, supplying the ancient world with such exotic items as frankincense, myrrh, spices, condiments and other luxury items. The southwestern coastal...

Food and Drink in Yemen

The main meal of the day is lunch, which is usually eaten without implements, using a piece of bread to scoop up the food. Salta, the national dish, is a highly spiced stew, containing chicken or lamb with lentils, chickpeas, beans and coriander....

Culture of Yemen: Architecture

Yemeni houses are built using local materials and always blend harmoniously with their natural setting. Reeds, mud and brick are used in the valleys and the plains, while stone-building is common in mountainous dwelling areas. Decorations on the...

Media of Yemen

The newspapers are both private and state-controlled, but the broadcasting service that operates radio and television stations are state-controlled. Radio broadcast stations AM 6, FM 1, short-wave 2 (1998) Television broadcast stations 7 (plus...