It sometimes feels like the news wouldn’t be THE NEWS without daily scare-mongering about the latest atrocity in the Middle East; and at the time of writing it’s still unclear how and to what extent the “Arab Spring” will reshape the region.

What’s less well known is that the Middle East is a varied, inspiring, and generally safe area in which to travel; with awesome ancient sites such as Petra in Jordan, Biblical locations such as the Dead Sea (in Jordan and Israel), the lively souqs of Damascus in Syria, intimidatingly beautiful deserts such as Wadi Rum, and the soft bubbling of water pipes in cafes across the whole region.

We have articles about teaching English in Bahrain during the protests, how to conduct yourself in a Syrian hammam, where to find the best mosaics, why you should visit Lebanon, daily life in Tel Aviv, and much, much more.