Featured category: The Middle East

The cursed stone city of Saudi Arabia; the largest brick arch in the world; why Lebanon’s prime minister is always Christian, its president always Sunni Muslim, and its speaker Shi’a Muslim; and the strange force of the number 40 in Abrahamic religions.

Laurent ERRERA from L’Union, France [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

According to the Quran, Hegra – the stone city of the Nabataean Kingdom – was cursed because of how it treated a pregnant camel.


The brick archway of Tāq Kasrā in modern Iraq is the largest in the world, and has stood for more than a thousand years.


According to a National Pact, the three most important political positions in Lebanon must be filled by a Sunni Muslim, a Shi’a Muslim, and a Christian.


Forty days and nights, forty winks, forty years wandering the wilderness… why are the religions of the Middle East obsessed with the number 40?

For more facts about the architecture, history, and society of the Middle East, begin here:

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