Fertile fields and snow-capped mountains: The unexpected Arab Spring

Published April 4th, 2015 - 23:24 GMT

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Contrary to popular belief, the Middle East is more than just vast deserts and sandstorms. In fact, it is also home to the Fertile Crescent, also known as the cradle of civilization, which was lush enough to host some of the world’s first modern societies.

Although most people associate the Arab Spring with the clashing of these civilizations, the melting of winter is an especially vibrant time in a land known for its dry and arid climate. During this time, one can find just about any landscape in the Arab world, from fertile fields to snow-capped mountains. We think it is by far the best time to visit the region. Continue reading below »

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Nagar Valley, Pakistan: Is this what you had in mind? Nagar Valley is a popular tourist destination for those looking to enjoy beautiful scenery while hiking in the mountains.
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Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10Nagar Valley, Pakistan: Is this what you had in mind? Nagar Valley is a popular tourist destination for those looking to enjoy beautiful scenery while hiking in the mountains.

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Azraq Wetland Reserve, Jordan: Jordan’s oasis in the desert was created more than 250,000 years ago and is fed from aquifers. March along the Marsh Trail and keep a look out for migratory birds from around the world.
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Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10Azraq Wetland Reserve, Jordan: Jordan’s oasis in the desert was created more than 250,000 years ago and is fed from aquifers. March along the Marsh Trail and keep a look out for migratory birds from around the world.

Enlarge
Bu Tinah Island, Abu Dhabi: The Middle East even has its fair share of tropical islands! This tiny archipelago serves as a protected nature reserve and has extensive coral and seagrass beds.
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Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10Bu Tinah Island, Abu Dhabi: The Middle East even has its fair share of tropical islands! This tiny archipelago serves as a protected nature reserve and has extensive coral and seagrass beds.

Enlarge
Dizin Shemshak, Iran: Who says spring has to be all about warm weather? Some snow bunnies are more inclined to hit the slopes. Fortunately, the Middle East’s diverse climate means there are plenty of opportunities to sip cocoa in the spring, if that’s your thing.
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Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10Dizin Shemshak, Iran: Who says spring has to be all about warm weather? Some snow bunnies are more inclined to hit the slopes. Fortunately, the Middle East’s diverse climate means there are plenty of opportunities to sip cocoa in the spring, if that’s your thing.

Enlarge
Atlas Mountains, Morocco: The Atlas Mountains’ highest peak, Toubkal, at an elevation of 4,165 meters was originally known as the “mountain of life.” Hidden in these mountains one will find a number of endangered plant and animal species unique to Africa.
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Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10Atlas Mountains, Morocco: The Atlas Mountains’ highest peak, Toubkal, at an elevation of 4,165 meters was originally known as the “mountain of life.” Hidden in these mountains one will find a number of endangered plant and animal species unique to Africa.

Enlarge
Mashhad, Iran: When you’re ready to defrost after taking a snow escapade, you can stroll through Iran’s lush fields full of flowers. These flowers will be harvested to make saffron. Or, you can stop and take a whiff of the beautiful red roses, Iran’s national flower.
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Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10Mashhad, Iran: When you’re ready to defrost after taking a snow escapade, you can stroll through Iran’s lush fields full of flowers. These flowers will be harvested to make saffron. Or, you can stop and take a whiff of the beautiful red roses, Iran’s national flower.

Enlarge
Fuheis, Jordan: Jordan too experiences a stunning rebirth of flowers in the springtime. Stop by Fuheis, or anywhere in northern Jordan, to experience the vibrant green landscape before they dry up in the summer.
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Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10Fuheis, Jordan: Jordan too experiences a stunning rebirth of flowers in the springtime. Stop by Fuheis, or anywhere in northern Jordan, to experience the vibrant green landscape before they dry up in the summer.

Enlarge
Qabar Oun, Libya: Imagine being lost in the desert and stumbling upon THIS beauty. Considered one of the rarest lakes in the world, Qabar Oun is a salt-water lake with magical healing properties.
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Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10Qabar Oun, Libya: Imagine being lost in the desert and stumbling upon THIS beauty. Considered one of the rarest lakes in the world, Qabar Oun is a salt-water lake with magical healing properties.

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Wadi Rum, Jordan: Hey, even the desert is beautiful in the spring! The limited rainfall deserts get this season is just enough to spruce up an otherwise stark landscape with some pop of color.
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Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10Wadi Rum, Jordan: Hey, even the desert is beautiful in the spring! The limited rainfall deserts get this season is just enough to spruce up an otherwise stark landscape with some pop of color.

Enlarge
Negev Desert, Dead Sea: The Red South, or “Darom Adom” in Hebrew, is just one spring phenomenon that occurs in January and continues until the end of February. The desert is transformed into a rich red landscape as millions of poppies crop up through the earth in the Negev desert.
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Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10Negev Desert, Dead Sea: The Red South, or “Darom Adom” in Hebrew, is just one spring phenomenon that occurs in January and continues until the end of February. The desert is transformed into a rich red landscape as millions of poppies crop up through the earth in the Negev desert.

Enlarge

1

Nagar Valley, Pakistan: Is this what you had in mind? Nagar Valley is a popular tourist destination for those looking to enjoy beautiful scenery while hiking in the mountains.

Image 1 of 10Nagar Valley, Pakistan: Is this what you had in mind? Nagar Valley is a popular tourist destination for those looking to enjoy beautiful scenery while hiking in the mountains.

2

Azraq Wetland Reserve, Jordan: Jordan’s oasis in the desert was created more than 250,000 years ago and is fed from aquifers. March along the Marsh Trail and keep a look out for migratory birds from around the world.

Image 2 of 10Azraq Wetland Reserve, Jordan: Jordan’s oasis in the desert was created more than 250,000 years ago and is fed from aquifers. March along the Marsh Trail and keep a look out for migratory birds from around the world.

3

Bu Tinah Island, Abu Dhabi: The Middle East even has its fair share of tropical islands! This tiny archipelago serves as a protected nature reserve and has extensive coral and seagrass beds.

Image 3 of 10Bu Tinah Island, Abu Dhabi: The Middle East even has its fair share of tropical islands! This tiny archipelago serves as a protected nature reserve and has extensive coral and seagrass beds.

4

Dizin Shemshak, Iran: Who says spring has to be all about warm weather? Some snow bunnies are more inclined to hit the slopes. Fortunately, the Middle East’s diverse climate means there are plenty of opportunities to sip cocoa in the spring, if that’s your thing.

Image 4 of 10Dizin Shemshak, Iran: Who says spring has to be all about warm weather? Some snow bunnies are more inclined to hit the slopes. Fortunately, the Middle East’s diverse climate means there are plenty of opportunities to sip cocoa in the spring, if that’s your thing.

5

Atlas Mountains, Morocco: The Atlas Mountains’ highest peak, Toubkal, at an elevation of 4,165 meters was originally known as the “mountain of life.” Hidden in these mountains one will find a number of endangered plant and animal species unique to Africa.

Image 5 of 10Atlas Mountains, Morocco: The Atlas Mountains’ highest peak, Toubkal, at an elevation of 4,165 meters was originally known as the “mountain of life.” Hidden in these mountains one will find a number of endangered plant and animal species unique to Africa.

6

Mashhad, Iran: When you’re ready to defrost after taking a snow escapade, you can stroll through Iran’s lush fields full of flowers. These flowers will be harvested to make saffron. Or, you can stop and take a whiff of the beautiful red roses, Iran’s national flower.

Image 6 of 10Mashhad, Iran: When you’re ready to defrost after taking a snow escapade, you can stroll through Iran’s lush fields full of flowers. These flowers will be harvested to make saffron. Or, you can stop and take a whiff of the beautiful red roses, Iran’s national flower.

7

Fuheis, Jordan: Jordan too experiences a stunning rebirth of flowers in the springtime. Stop by Fuheis, or anywhere in northern Jordan, to experience the vibrant green landscape before they dry up in the summer.

Image 7 of 10Fuheis, Jordan: Jordan too experiences a stunning rebirth of flowers in the springtime. Stop by Fuheis, or anywhere in northern Jordan, to experience the vibrant green landscape before they dry up in the summer.

8

Qabar Oun, Libya: Imagine being lost in the desert and stumbling upon THIS beauty. Considered one of the rarest lakes in the world, Qabar Oun is a salt-water lake with magical healing properties.

Image 8 of 10Qabar Oun, Libya: Imagine being lost in the desert and stumbling upon THIS beauty. Considered one of the rarest lakes in the world, Qabar Oun is a salt-water lake with magical healing properties.

9

Wadi Rum, Jordan: Hey, even the desert is beautiful in the spring! The limited rainfall deserts get this season is just enough to spruce up an otherwise stark landscape with some pop of color.

Image 9 of 10Wadi Rum, Jordan: Hey, even the desert is beautiful in the spring! The limited rainfall deserts get this season is just enough to spruce up an otherwise stark landscape with some pop of color.

10

Negev Desert, Dead Sea: The Red South, or “Darom Adom” in Hebrew, is just one spring phenomenon that occurs in January and continues until the end of February. The desert is transformed into a rich red landscape as millions of poppies crop up through the earth in the Negev desert.

Image 10 of 10Negev Desert, Dead Sea: The Red South, or “Darom Adom” in Hebrew, is just one spring phenomenon that occurs in January and continues until the end of February. The desert is transformed into a rich red landscape as millions of poppies crop up through the earth in the Negev desert.

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So pack your bags and get ready to be wowed by all that MENA has to offer in the spring time. The following ten slides show the surprising beauty of spring in the Middle East.

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