Centuries before oil had any meaning to the world the oasis towns of eastern Saudi Arabia were the pivot of a struggle between the empires of Turkey and Portugal.
Surprising though it may sound, the cosmetics industry was not only born in the Middle East, but is flourishing there to this day.
After record rains in the northern reaches of Saudi Arabia last winter soaked seeds lying dormant in the sand, whole hillsides burst into flower.
In the 14th century Islam came to Kashmir, a lovely land of stately mosques, historic gardens, tranquil lakes and towering, glacier-clad mountains.
In Lisbon, one of the world's most famous oil magnates founded and endowed a museum to house one of the world's finest collections of Islamic art—his own.
Calouste Gulbenkian: Mr. Five Percent
More than 2,000 years ago a young king built a mysterious tomb high on the windswept cone of a peak called Nemrud Dagh in southern Turkey.