The Royal Game of Ur is the oldest board game for which we have a near-complete set of rules. People were playing it five thousand years ago, and it is still played today.
In Lebanon, political leadership and representation are officially divided up according to religious affiliation. This system, confessionalism, is supposed to encourage peace and cooperation between disparate faiths.
Qatar has been engaged in a diplomatic crisis with its neighbours since 2017. Amid the escalating tensions, Saudi Arabia has proposed a canal stretching all the way along the border with Qatar – turning the peninsula into an island.
John Gayer, a 17th century Lord Mayor of London, had a close encounter with a lion while working in Syria. He prayed, the lion left, and he gratefully endowed a sermon to be given every year thereafter.
One of the Dead Sea Scrolls was written on copper rather than papyrus or parchment – and it’s a treasure map. None of the treasure has been found, but given that the scroll probably dates back a couple of thousand years it is unlikely to ever be found.
The Great Wall of Gorgan in Iran is 195km long, making it the second-longest wall in history behind the Great Wall of China. Built by the Sasanian Empire in the 5th or 6th Century to keep out (probably) the White Huns, medieval tradition also connects it with Alexander the Great and his legendary Caspian Gates.