Romance of Arabia – A Romantic Get Away in the Middle East
Picture the scene: a setting sun, the rolling dunes, a warm desert evening breeze and you alone with the one you love. There is something deeply magical about the Arabic world that has caught the imagination of generations of star struck lovers around the world.
When we think of destinations for a romantic getaway the Middle East may not be one of the first places to pop into your mind, but over the course of this blog post I hope to make you see why there are few places on earth that can compete with this ancient part of the world as the enduring home of romance.
The Arabian Peninsula has a rich historical and cultural heritage that reaches right back to the beginnings of civilization itself and many of the world’s most enchanting love stories have come from this region of the world. In fact many of the world’s most romantic love stories really took place here.
Everyone knows the romantic classic rock song Layla by Eric Clapton, but not everyone knows that the title was inspired by the story of Layla and Majnun, written by the 12th century Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi. The story of Layla and Majnun is one of the most moving tragic love stories that has ever been told.
Arabian literature and stories played a highly influential role within the works of many great authors and artists of the Romantic era. Arabian Nights in particular was a favorite book of many British authors and according to A. S. Byatt, “In British Romantic poetry the Arabian Nights stood for the wonderful against the mundane, the imaginative against the prosaically and reductively rational.”
This image may be a little bit of an outdated characterization, but for the sake of love it is sometimes best not to be, in the words of Byatt, “reductively rational.”
So where should you be heading for a romantic get-away in the Middle East?
There are a few good destinations, but Dubai is probably top of the list for many. This city has sprung out of the desert as if by magic over the last few decades and offers some of the most luxurious and incredible accommodation and restaurants the world has ever seen.
If you really want to make a statement of love, taking your partner to the world famous Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai – reputably the world’s first seven star hotel – would certainly make an impact.
Dubai offers the kind of service that will make you feel like a sultan for the day; helicopter transfers from the airport, limo hire, private candle lit dinners on the beach – you name it Dubai can do it.
Of course modernity is something that you can find anywhere in the world, but history is something that the Middle East has in unique abundance.
The ancient city of Petra, Jordan, is one of the most incredible architectural feats of the ancient world. The city has been literally carved into the cliff faces of the slopes of Mount Hor. This incredibly beautiful city is romantic at the best of times, but touring Petra by night is a truly breath taking experience.
Thousands of candles light the way around the city, while haunting Bedouin music plays out from the treasury; it brings the romance of the past right into the modern world.
Istanbul stands as the gateway to the Middle East; in fact the city itself straddles both land masses, with its old historic center residing in Europe and much of the newer city expanding into the Middle East. This geographically strategic setting made Istanbul one of the most important cities in the world for more than a thousand years.
Explore the Grad Baazar and it’s seemingly never ending covered lanes of shops and stalls, see the Hagia Sophia that stood as the largest church in the world for almost 1000 years and at night enjoy a candlelit dinner with views of the boats sailing up the Bosphorus and the many minarets reaching up above the skyline of this ancient and romantic city.