Middle East Local Customs

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

Middle East Local Customs

  • National Day

    Dubai Local Customs

    Apart from the religious events, pertaining to Islam, Dubai celebrates National Day every year. This is typically celebrated on the 2nd of December, and public holidays extend to the 3rd of December. Te national day signifies the day when Sheikh Zayed took the initiative and brought neighbouring states to the table and drew up the geography and...

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  • 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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  • 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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  • Tradition

    Jerusalem Local Customs

    YOM HAZIKARON Memorial Day - A day honoring Israeli soldiers who have died in the country's never-ending wars - over 23,320 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Traditions and Customs

    Baghdad Local Customs

    A Trip to Iraq – I found this amazing page at one of the Russian web sites that you may not be able to find or to read. I decided to translate the photo inscriptions for you here. Please take a look at the recent pictures of Baghdad made by Artemiy Lebedev, a Russian journalist, in April 2011, who, as he put it, must have been the only Russian...

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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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  • Local currency

    Borjomi Local Customs

    Like many other former Soviet Republics, also Georgia is a country of cash, which means that credit cards are not as widely accepted as in Western Europe. The local currency of Georgia is the Georgian Lari (GEL), which exists in its current form since about 1995. The subunits of the Geogrian Laris are Tetri, so 1 Lari is divided into 100 Tetri. I...

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  • Post Office

    Mts'khet'a Local Customs

    My plan was to send some postcards from Georgia, but already in Tbilisi I didn't see any letter boxes in the town and even post offices were hard to find. So when I came to Mtshketa I went to the small post office, which was marked on my city map. Although there was a signpost in front of the building directing towards the post office, there...

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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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  • The Souq

    Bahrain Local Customs

    Did you ever ask yourself, how various spices are mixed in the perfect, traditional way of the Middle East ? We have visited this interesting shop for spices and this was my favorite thing to see: a big "mountain" of various spices and when buying a bit of it you take the spoon and start taking away your part from the bottom of the "spice-mountain"...

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  • Local Life

    Jordan Local Customs

    The first impressions confirmed immediately the social opening of Jordan culture. Middle class marriages take place in the hotel, and men and woman celebrate in a rather "western" party, where the presence of foreigners does not worry anyone. By the contrary, they seemed pleased to share the joy.

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  • National Dish - Falafel

    Israel Local Customs

    Fuss-free fast food; falafel is a simple and affordable chickpea ball that has popular in the Middle East for centuries and is now popular over the world. The origins are unclear but it was adopted by Mizrahi Jews living in Arab countries, falafel found its home in Israel in a pitta topped with salad and became the national dish.

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  • Abkhaz Food

    Abkhazia [provisional] Local Customs

    Traditional Abkhaz food is not that easy to find in the restaurants of Sokhumi (maybe it is elsewhere, but as I stayed in Sokhumi, I only ate out there), as many of the restaurants on the seafront cater more to Russian tastes and serve things like borsch (beetroot soup), shashlyk (grilled meat on skewers) and, strangely enough, sushi. A couple of...

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  • Gender Segregation in Public Transport

    Iran Local Customs

    We had heard a lot about gender segregation in Iran before coming to this country. Some of the statements turned out to be a little exaggerated but others not. Gender segregation in public transport is a fact. In buses men and women sit in separate sections which are divided by a metal bar. Women usually sit in the rear part. Allegedly, they feel...

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  • Mosque 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • body language

    Bahrain Local Customs

    The Abayat / Abaya / Aba'a is a traditional black dress that covers the whole body except the hands, the feet and the face ! The Abayat might be worn by men and by women ! In Saudi Arabia the abayat is the minimum dress for women when they are leaving their homes, in Bahrain that is certainly handled a lot less severe, because I saw lots of women,...

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  • Argileh - Shisha

    Jordan Local Customs

    Ok, ok, I have to admit it: Petra beer is good but in a Muslim country like Jordan it is not easy to find everywhere! But there are some places with good fruit juices, mint tea aaaand water pipes. I don’t smoke (I am only a bloody passive smoker!!!!) but I find smoking narguile very relaxing :-) After a very traumatic “first time” in a men's social...

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  • Language

    Abkhazia [provisional] Local Customs

    English is not widely spoken in Abkhazia. Staff in the first hotel I stayed in knew a few words, and made every effort to communicate with me using sign language and phoning an English speaking friend. In the second hotel, I was surprised by two fluent receptionists and a fluent waitress, and I also met an English speaking waiter in a cafe on the...

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  • War Martyrs

    Iran Local Customs

    One of the things that struck me in Iran were the omnipresent portraits of young men placed both along inter-city roads and in the cities, as well. They are the heroes who died in the Iran-Iraq war (1980 - 1988). I guess many of them were the basij - members of a volunteer paramilitary organization. Poorly trained and often very young, they were...

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  • Emergency 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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  • 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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  • 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
  • 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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  • Tea & Coffee

    Jordan Local Customs

    Coffee (Turkish coffee) is a strong boiled brew of cardamom flavoured coffee. It is usually served in small cups. You have to inform the waiter how you sweet you like your coffee, as it is prepared with sugar. Let it settle before drinking, and do not drink the thick, muddy ‘sediment’. Tea (shy) is sweet, often flavoured with mint and usually...

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  • Getting a Visa

    Abkhazia [provisional] Local Customs

    Unless you are from Russia or a former Soviet Union country (except Georgia and the Baltic States) or one of the handful of countries that recognises Abkhazian independence, you'll need a visa to enter Abkhazia , and this is now a fairly straightforward process. The first step is to go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and fill in their...

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  • Zurkhaneh - House of Strength

    Iran Local Customs

    Zurkhaneh is a traditional Iranian workout for men, which comprises spiritual as well as physical elements and is based on ancient rituals. Spectators are allowed to watch training sessions, but usually there are relatively few people there as participants don't seek any publicity. It was thanks to our Iranian guide that we had a chance to watch...

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  • Local Life

    Istanbul Local Customs

    I know the big importance of Ataturk in modern Turkey. It is not surprise his presence everywhere, in official places and political instruments, but I noticed that popular respect follows the same high level of reverence. From taxis to touristy gadgets he is always present.

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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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  • 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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  • Mosques

    Bahrain Local Customs

    This is another interesting scenery shown with puppets in the National Museum of Bahrain in Manama: children are attending Qur'anic Schools from the age of five or six and these classes are attended by boys and girls in the same classroom in the home of the teacher, every day except on Fridays. Truancy was severly punished and the teacher collected...

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  • Toilets

    Jordan Local Customs

    Outside hotels and the airport, each and every toilet I visited in Jordan (and I visited quite a few) was Western-style and clean enough. I'm not going to pretend that I visited all types of Jordan toilet: I didn't. I visited toilets in ancient sites and in museums, at roadside service stations and in Bedouin camps set up to provide accommodation...

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  • Yazd Door Knockers

    Iran Local Customs

    In Yazd we came across a lot of old door-knockers coming in two shapes: round and long rectangular ones. As it turned out they were designed to be used either by men or by women. Knockers for men are heavier and make a stronger sound, knockers for women in a ring shape are lighter and the sound they make is lighter, as well. This way people in the...

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  • Clothing

    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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  • 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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  • Bedouin

    Jordan Local Customs

    In Wadi Rum you may find these brown tents scattered on the landscape. They are woven by the Bedouin women using the goats’ hair. Goat’s hair shrinks when is wet so it blocks the cold air from outside in winter. However when it is dry, the fabric sags appearing “holes” everywhere which let the breeze pass. A common tent is usually 30 -40 metres...

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  • Esfahan

    Iran Local Customs

    Persian carpets are considered to be the finest among oriental ones. The annual production of handmade Iranian rugs reaches 7,6 mln square metres, but of course there are machine made carpets, as well. Although not so valuable, they can also be of high quality. Everybody knows that carpets can be a good investment, just as paintings are. Let me...

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  • Turkish Language

    Istanbul Local Customs

    As Istanbul is quite touristy, seems like people around could talk and understand English, especially sellers. Anyway that English is quite basic, mostly phrases to get to know each other (“how are you?”, “where are you from?”, “I am Turkish”). Some people pretend to understand English, answering “ok” in any question you ask :) I loved that way...

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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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