Image 1 of 8: Ramadan like an Egyptian! No one does Ramadan quite like Cairo. Business & pleasure come to a standstill in the day, but the roads heave at break-of-fast (Iftar) time. Throw in extra prayers to the 5, added sheesha opportunities in long Ramadan nights when the dense population is all out, and you get the holy month in the city that never sleeps.
Image 1 of 8: Turkish Ramadan hinges on a song, a dance and a prayer: In Istanbul, they call the nights 'red and white' because of their curious mix of fun and prayer. All the mosques are lit up for the whole holy month and tourists can enjoy the whirling dervishes, special prayers en masse, and famous sweets. Ramadan in Istanbul is quite a Turkish delight.
Image 1 of 8: Amman's the Ramadan tourist hotspot this year: Poised to host even more visitors than usual, due to the surplus influx of Arabs wanting to summer away from neighboring trouble spots, Ammanis expect a hectic one. Many Ramadan travelers are hoping Amman's moderate climate & moderate politics will give them relative respite from the Mid-East heat.
Image 1 of 8: Meditate at Mecca for Ramadan: you would expect Mecca - the holiest city in Islam - to be the spiritual heart of Ramadan and so it is. Going to Omrah (or mini Hajj pilgrimage) and passing special vigils at the mosques gets you extra points equivilent to having made a full Hajj with the Prohpet no less.
Image 1 of 8: Ramadan in Dubai: This capital of choice has something for everyone -- accommodating commercial Ramadan fans as well as the more devoted acolytes. If you're more latter than former, you can head to Dubai to compete at Qaran-memorizing contests. Expatriates or non-Muslims can take Ramadan etiquette crash courses to get with the program.
Image 1 of 8: Ramadan the Beiruti way: For some it's a case of Ramadan? what Ramadan? Those Beirutis party through war and fasting with equal gusto. But the Lebanese also know how to do post-fast entertainment like no one else with shows, performances and Iftar food offerings to die for.
Image 1 of 8: Hats off to Ramadan in Fez: Travelers love the Medieval Moroccan city any time of year, but Ramadan is special - from fun-fair to library Islamic learning. Spend sweet mint tea evenings and try the rude but charming awakening of the traditional Musaharati who drums the neighborhood awake, door to door pre-dawn reminding locals to get up and eat!
Image 1 of 8: Bless your fast in the holy Kingdom at memorable Medina: After praying before the Kaaba, you can break fast with a whole multitude of world Muslims, sitting in the Mosque of the prophet. Muslims dream of fasting in Mecca or Medina and speak of spiritual Ramadans and remarkable Iftar experiences worth the added intensity of this holiest of fasts.
Although Muslims habitually stay at home for Ramadan, living the holy month abroad is becoming more common in an increasingly mobile age. This year, Lebanon's minister for tourism even made a public appeal for Ramadan visitors to consider the arguably less obvious choice, while traditional tourism hot-spot for Ramadan, Saudi Arabia, has started up a tourist campaign to open up the Holy Kingdom to non-religious visitors too.
For anyone planning on trying Ramadan abroad, whether for the experience of a travelling Ramadan, or out of necessity in times of political unrest in the Middle East, here's our Ramadan tourist special - a cross section of Arab world cities and capitals for a state-of-the-art Ramadan experience.
Ramadan 2012 falls in the peak summer season of travel, so inevitably a lot of Muslims may spend a touristic Ramadan.
During hours of fasting, the experience from region to region is similar, but the true character or essence of a Ramadan time is manifested as the city comes alive for Ramadan nights.
The Iftars (or break-of-fast-meal) makes a central platform of the holy month, with a big emphasis placed on the fine food on the table.
Traditionally targetted hotspots for the religious tourism of Ramadan would be Mecca and Medina. Here, we explore alternative options to the Holy Kingdom, that can be as holy as you make them, with the assistance of added learning opportunities in cities that open up lectures and libraries to enhance the spiritual quality of the holy month.
Some Arab and Near East capitals have their own unique delights to offer in the spiritual as well as commercial stakes. While we wonder if Egypt's Ramadan will feature an added note of zeal for its firstime Brotherhood Ramadan, we explore Cairo alongside other Mideast choice locations for Ramadan 2012.
Muslim or non-Muslim tourists seeking a Ramadan holiday experience can shop here!
Share your thoughts on the somewhat newage concept of Ramadan tourism. Leave your commets in the space below.