Middle East Local Customs

  • Local Customs
    by Robin020
  • Local Customs
    by Ewingjr98
  • The Qatari women
    The Qatari women
    by greekcypriot

Middle East Local Customs

  • local food

    Istanbul Local Customs

    This was recommended in my Lonely Planet guidebook but it was with local Istanbul VTer Stream&Rain that was able to help with finding the shop...just in Eminou in the main street behind Eminou near the Eminou mosque. We bought a range of Turkish Delight - very nice!

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  • Mosques/Masjid

    Jiddah Local Customs

    Jeddah one of the famous cities in which the magnificence of the deep rooted past combines with the originality of the present with all its modernity. This allowed Jeddah to preserve its distinguished characteristic as a modern city at par with its equivalent international cities.

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  • Local Food

    Tel Aviv-Yafo Local Customs

    Your Own Pocket Concierge A new App that going to help to look the best places to be in the city! is called "Reserved" you can download it to your iPhone or android, it shows you the best restaurants and reserve table, explore the city nightlife bars, book a hotel room & flights, all of these in english and you can do it through the app. For...

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  • Tradition

    Jerusalem Local Customs

    YOM HAZIKARON Memorial Day - A day honoring Israeli soldiers who have died in the country's never-ending wars - over 23,169 soldiers at last count...It is always the day before Independence Day - usually in May, but sometimes in late April. This is a national holiday, not a religious one. Shops are open (although many of them close early) and...

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  • Covering Up

    Petra Local Customs

    There are two reasons to cover up, no matter where you are in Jordan. 1) Jordan is a conservative country, and unless you are in the trendy Shmeisani area of Amman you won't see anyone, male or female, wear shorts unless they're homeless, mentally ill or small children; locals consider shorts to be underwear. Arabs who dress in this way would be...

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  • Panorama Shopping Mall

    Haifa Local Customs

    Go to the Panorama Shopping Mall. They have excellent Israeli items as well as the usual wares. The Panorama Center was established in 1986. It is located in the heart of the Carmel, adjacent to the Dan Panorama Hotel. There are 4,000 square meters of commercial space and 150 parking spaces.

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  • mosques

    Aleppo Local Customs

    Muslims are very welcoming to foreigners wishing to see their mosques - but some tourists are cring-making when they gawk and take photos right under the noses of people praying - it is so rude! If you want to look, first go at a time other than prayer time, use the scarves and cloaks provided to cover up and behave with respect e.g. quietly....

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  • Qatari Dress

    Qatar Local Customs

    In Qatar you will probably see some expat residents wearing anything from shorts to spagetti-strap tops. While most likely no Qatari will ever tell you that you shouldn't be wearing this, that does not mean that they don't take offense to it. Consider what the Qataris themselves wear - both men and women are completely covered from head to toe in...

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  • body language

    Bahrain Local Customs

    In the Arab Gulf men kiss their friends on the cheeks but not women. Women do greet women with kisses on the cheeks but not men. Arabs take pride in their cars and homes. If an Arab man invites you to his home be prepared to have segregated living rooms i.e. one for men and one for women though not always. It is an honor to be invited to a local...

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  • tea and coffee

    Istanbul Local Customs

    When you ask a Turkish citizen to think of Turkish coffee, "Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi" is the one brand which always comes to mind. Named after its founder, "Mehmet Efendi", the company is one of the most well known brands in the country and has been specialising in top quality roasted and freshly ground coffee for over 130 years. Now run by...

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  • Housing Architect.

    Jiddah Local Customs

    Perhaps nothing is a better illustration of the connections between Jeddah and Yemen (and the lack of historical ones between Jeddah and Nejd) than the city's architecture. There are many buildings that are several stories high in the traditional areas of Jeddah, mirroring the same construction technology that allowed for the mud skyscrapers of...

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  • Independence Day

    Tel Aviv-Yafo Local Customs

    This photo was taken in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on the eve of our Indepence Day (26.4). It shows part of a fireworks display and people watching it. We were celebrating 56 years since Israel was declared a state.

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  • Religious Holidays

    Jerusalem Local Customs

    Good Friday, the day on which Jesus was crucified, according to the Christian belief, is a festive day in the Old City of Jerusalem. Pilgrims from every continent flock to the Via Dolorosa Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They carry wooden crosses of different sizes, small ones which they hold close to their bosom or huge ones which are a heavy load...

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  • Language

    Qatar Local Customs

    Pronunciation Note: Qatar is not pronounced as KAY-tar, or KWAY-tar, or even 'catarrh'. Arabic has a very gutteral voiced consonant that has no equivalent in English and is usually -- rather badly -- transliterated as 'q'. A much closer approximation of the proper pronounciation is 'cutter' or even 'gutter'. The other options above that are...

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  • Language

    Bahrain Local Customs

    Shukran - thank you Salaam alekum - good day Masalaama - bye Afwan- you're welcome Always ask for 'best cash price' when buying goods. Never photo Arab women, they go crazy. An arab is never without: 1) his mobile phone, 2) food stuffed into his mouth 3) his hand on the car horn, pressing HARD! Finally remember that any car driver will do anything...

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  • mosques etiquette

    Istanbul Local Customs

    A common question for visitors to Istanbul is how to dress, specifically for visiting the mosques. Women must cover their knees, shoulders and head, men must cover their knees and shoulders and everyone must remove their shoes. Outside of the mosques there are coverups if you don't have any of the parts covered up that need to be and there are...

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  • Religion/History/Culture

    Jiddah Local Customs

    I recently have been to a Sufi service which is quite commong among the Sufi community men and women respectively. Since it's mainly a segregated culture when it comes to conducting such services, it's always women-only the events i attend. i've been to several religious services, Anglican, Catholic, Hindu and some few spiritual services while...

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  • Language

    Tel Aviv-Yafo Local Customs

    Your Own Pocket Concierge A new App that going to help to look the best places to be in the city! is called "Reserved" you can download it to your iPhone or android, it shows you the best restaurants and reserve table, explore the city nightlife bars, book a hotel room & flights, all of these in english and you can do it through the app. For...

    more
  • Mosques

    Bahrain Local Customs

    We passed this mosque each time we went to the US Navy base on Bahrain. It was quite an impressive structure. Keep in mind that Muslims do not allow Non-Muslims to enter into their Mosques. There is no problem with taking pictures of the outside.

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  • turkish words

    Istanbul Local Customs

    "Nazar Boncugu" is one of the first words you gonna learn as you are in Turkey and get familiar to the "Turkish Language" ... Its translated as Evil Eye and It stems from a belief that an envious look or glance will bring bad luck or worse still inflict a curse upon the recipient. It is worn in the hope that it will ward off any bad luck or evil...

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  • Holy Month of Ramadan

    Jiddah Local Customs

    ... you are either an invited guest in the Kingdom or by circumstance due to lack of opportunities, means, you were not forced directly by the host country to come here, therefore, you are subject to the prevailing laws. You should be aware of the laws and be subject to it, and be sensitive to the Kingdom's local customs & traditions. ... to be...

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  • Weather

    Tel Aviv-Yafo Local Customs

    Here is some information about the weather in Israël. I went in august, when a heatwave was there. The temperature in Tel Aviv was then about 38 degrees Celcius, this is not normal for the end of august, it should be between 28 and 35 degrees Celcius at this time. But I got used to it though. In Jerusalem it was 37 degrees Celcius at that time, in...

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  • artists

    Bahrain Local Customs

    If you're into art there's a great gallery in adliya - called Al Riwaqa: they usually have an exhibition of reasonable quality work. The other place to go is the Bahraini Art Societyon Budaya road (next to 'things to do'). They usually have an exhibition of some sort on.

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  • clothes

    Istanbul Local Customs

    Istanbul has all the seasons like winter, spring, summer and fall. So check the weather report before your visit. The city is with more than 14 million people and very cosmopolite. Unlike some other muslim countries woman and man wear very modern clothings. I have seen in my last trips all of the famous brands thay have their own shops in...

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  • Welcoming New babies to the World

    Jiddah Local Customs

    i guess every reader is aware that Saudia has got the highest birth rate in the world. perhaps Saudis are so proud of it, being the first generator (or exporter,lol) of human babies and resources, well at least we're the first in something! In Hijaz or the western region, receiving a new a newborn baby is something everyone may talk about...

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  • Mimouna Celebrations

    Tel Aviv-Yafo Local Customs

    The Mimouna is unique to Moroccan Jewry, and its festivities are celebrated by Israel's Moroccan Jewish community immediately following the conclusion of Passover. The community opens its doors to all who may decide to enter with warm hospitality and the entire following day is spent in celebration of friendship and peace. Tables are set with...

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  • The Souq

    Bahrain Local Customs

    The Souq is a cultural institution of the Middle East. Everything on show is for sale, only the prices are not listed. This is because the price varies depending who you are. Prices for foreigners are twice or more than locals would pay, and 3rd world foreigners can get a better price than Westerners. This is based on an 'ability to pay'...

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  • raki (drink)

    Istanbul Local Customs

    In meyhane culture it is very important to stay sober and cool, act reasonable while drinking. I’ve been in meyhanes in which waiters can kick you out if you get drunk and start to sing or talk loudly. But if you drink raki (40-50% of alcohol), it is hard to stay normal. This is why we had many mezes and friends around. You have to drink raki...

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  • Wearing the veil.

    Jiddah Local Customs

    To cover or not to cover, that is the Western woman's question. Well, the first 3/4 of my trip I did not cover my head. The last 1/4 of my trip I did. I found that I was a lot more respected, even spoken to in Arabic and blended in much better when I covered my head. It is your own choice obviously, but always bring a scarf with you in your purse...

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  • Israeli Currency

    Tel Aviv-Yafo Local Customs

    The Israeli Currency is NIS = New Israeli Shekel, in in short as we say Shekel. From time to time im updating here the Currency rates just to give an idea of the aprx current rate: If you must have an updated one then check it on the web. According to May 19th, 2007: 1 Euro = 5.5 Shekels 1 USD= 3.97 Shekels

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  • nargileh

    Istanbul Local Customs

    This is an old looking teahouse where you also get the chance to try out a nargileh (water smoking pipe which bubbles when you suck air out of it). There are a few establishments inside but the one to head for is on you immediate left as you enter as this is the most attractive with lots of pretty lights and seems to be where the majority of...

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  • Schools/ Education system

    Jiddah Local Customs

    I liked 2 listen how school was introduced 2 Saudi Arabia & when women officially were given the right to education. Sixty yrs ago,only boys,against housekeeper girls,used 2 attend group studies called Halaqa or circle. A group of 10 or so formed a circle 2 learn reading, writing & math. This was called Katateeb or informal school. Queen Effat,a...

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  • Phone Calls

    Tel Aviv-Yafo Local Customs

    Making a phonecall? Buy a phonecard at the local store. Just put it in and dial the landcode, arecode without a zero and the number. Calling in Tel Aviv? Area code is three. Furthermore just dial the number. At the tourist office at the main busstation of Tel Aviv you can get all areacodes of Israel.

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  • hospitality

    Istanbul Local Customs

    Yes, hospitality is a real characteristic of Turkish people, and my room in Dolmabahce Palace was very comfortable. I didn't want to abuse their hospitality, and that's why I didn't accept to stay there, not because the harem was empty as some bad spirits suggested.

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  • Wedding Customs

    Jiddah Local Customs

    this seems to be a long tradition that has originated in arabia but certainly not from jeddah. it's a mixture of henna and water i think. then, it's stirred and mixed in a bowl to make it a thick texture and then poured into a materlia tube, ready for squeezing and drawing. i always hated the smell of henna and the colour it gets when it starts to...

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  • bargaining

    Istanbul Local Customs

    In Istanbul, and, I believe, other parts of Turkey as well, it is hard to imagine selling without bargaining. Even in shops, if you see it is like private owned, prices are not always fixed and it is possible to lower them almost twice. Street sellers always bargain, especially if you tell you buy more, but will pay a bit less. In some shops as...

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  • Local dress/Tradional wear

    Jiddah Local Customs

    Saudis are very proud of their clothing traditions, and it is very common to see Saudi men, young and old, wearing the thobe, a long shirt that goes from the shoulders to the ankles. While it may be easy to dismiss all thobes as looking alike, there are a variety of different styles and types, some of which are associated with specific countries or...

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  • music

    Istanbul Local Customs

    I know Turkish folklore, and understand the large diversity of the people, creating great differences in music and costumes from place to place. We had a great dinner with folk dancing in Ankara, but nothing in Istanbul. In Topkapi I saw a couple of nice girls, in costume, but the barrier of the language didn't allow me to understand if they were...

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  • Old DownTown

    Jiddah Local Customs

    Perhaps the most shocking thing to see in a city such as Jeddah is the general lack of investment in any sort of restoration or upkeep. On the one hand, urban development and urban design do not favour the renaissance of old areas: if you want to erect a new store, you simply add to the urban sprawl and build it somewhere with an empty plot of...

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  • phone numbers

    Istanbul Local Customs

    There are 3 major "GSM Operators" in Turkey for using cellphones, which are : TURKCELL www.turkcell.com.tr VODAFONE www.vodafone.com.tr AVEA www.avea.com.tr You can either buy a permanent post paid gsm line and pay the bill on monthly basis or buy a pre paid line only and load it as you want and as much as you want, totally depending on your...

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  • Eating Customs&Manners

    Jiddah Local Customs

    although i have spent most of my life in jeddah, i never thought of what the national dish could be or what jeddawi people eat in everyday life. perhaps i take everything for granted when it comes to food; if it's available, i just eat. if it's not, i just go to bed, easygoing! surprisingly, there is no 'saudi' dish that is considered national or...

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  • shoes

    Istanbul Local Customs

    "Shoe Shiners" are traditional and very popular all over the country, summer and winter, you can see them at each and every corner of the city and country. Most of them have a specific area given by the Municipality, but besides, there are younger guys who carry their shoeshine boxes with them all thru the day to several spots of the city,...

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  • Prayertime Retreat

    Jiddah Local Customs

    This is what I miss most since I left home to have my break time 4 times per working day. This comes from the daily Five Islamic Prayers; Fajr (dawn), Dhohor (noon), Asr (late afternoon), Maghrib (sunset), and Isha (evening). Since there are almost two shifts in private sectors, like restaurants, shopping malls, banks and hospitals, so the staff...

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  • tipping

    Istanbul Local Customs

    Turks are generally a welcoming race of people, eager to help and proud to show off their country. Sometimes the help can become overbearing. People here, once they've assisted you in any small detail, almost instantly expect something in return, and in a country where inflation is skyrocketing, this "return" normally involves the instant demand...

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  • Eid Celebrations

    Jiddah Local Customs

    Eid means an annual event to be remembered by public. Jeddah celebrates two official Eids every year; Eid al Fiter and Eid al Ad'ha. The first means the celebrationf of breaking the fast, and the other is the celebration of devotion. Eid al Fiter is celebrated right after the end of Ramadan. On the first day of Eid, there is one big mosque...

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Middle East Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Middle East local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Middle East sightseeing.
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