Middle East offers a lot of sandscapes and geological wonders that are worth wandering. Multi-coloured valleys, hypersaline lake and fantastical rock formations all make you feel as if you have just arrived on a fairy-tale type wonder land.
If you are planning a Middle East travel trip and are wondering which places to cover as part of your itinerary, here are some of the most stunning natural wonders of the Middle East that you should visit at least once in your lifetime.
1. Spires of Cappadocia, Turkey
You’ll rather feel like stepping out of a space ship than a tourist bus as you arrive in Cappadocia. Mushroom-capped chimneys, cities carved out of stone and stunning cave dwellings all give you a feeling of stepping into an alien world. The story goes that more than 30 million years ago, a volcano spewed ash across the region which turned into porous rock. As time went by, the softer upper surface of the stone was carved off exposing the stronger inner stone.
2. Rainbow Valley of Iran
Salt domes and statue rocks look like as if they are the only skyscrapers in the region of Hormuz Island. They were formed as huge amounts of rock salt has been pushed above the Earth’s surface. There is also a Valley of Statues where the rocks have been weathered to form into fantastic shapes. And yes, the place is called as Rainbow Valley as the 16-suqare miles place is awe-inspiring as it is painted by different hues of red, orange, purple, blue and white by the Earth’s naturally occurring materials.
3. Oasis of the Saudi Desert
The Jebel Qaraqir plateau of this region imposes craggy cliffs and magnificent peaks in the canyon that cuts through the region. The peaks and cliffs are so huge that vehicles and humans visiting here are dwarfed by their massive size. The place is also home to a dramatic spring-fed stream that provides water to the shrubs, grasses and palm trees which splash different shades of green against the orange-yellow canyon canvas.
4. The World’s Deepest Hypersaline Lake
The Dead Sea is a landlocked lake that is bordered by Israel, Jordan and Palestinian territories and located at the lowest point of the Earth. The high salinity of Dead Sea makes floating easy for humans and the mineral-rich mud is used for therapeutic and cosmetic treatment in the nearby resorts. The water is also uninhabitable for fish, plants and other water-dwelling creatures except for some bacteria and fungi.
5. Jeita Grotto in Lebanon
This is an ever-growing grotto and is one of the most popular spots among the tourists visiting Beirut. The cave is full of natural stone curtains, columns and reflects a cathedral-like atmosphere. The stone candles and columns of the inner layers are a result of the stalagmites and stalactites of the upper cave and the low water levels allow for stunning boat rides that take you across the subterranean world and then offering a glimpse of towering limestone formations – all magnificently reflected in the calm waters.