13 Intriguing Natural Wonders of the Middle East

Jeita Grotto, Lebanon

(images via: kcakduman, wikimedia commons)

Two interconnected limestone caves in the Nahr al-Kalb valley north of Beirut, Lebanon were inhabited in prehistoric times but not ‘discovered’ again until 1836. Tourists can now view the lower cave of the Jeita Grotto, which was previously only accessible by boat, thanks to a tunnel and series of walkways 200 feet above the bottom of the cave. The upper galleries of the cave are home to the world’s largest known stalactite, which is 27 feet long. Visitors are only able to catch a glimpse of this cave system, as most of it is protected to prevent damage.

Musandam Fjords, Oman

(images via: wikimedia commons, octal)

Located 3 to 5 hours from either Dubai or Abu Dhabi, respectively, the fjords and inlets of Musandam in northern Oman are reminiscent of similar landscape features in Norway. This remote peninsula is separated from the rest of Oman by the United Arab Emirates and features rugged, sandy mountains that plunge from heights of nearly 6,500 feet straight down into crystal-clear blue-green waters. Visitors typically cruise in on tourist boats to take in the majesty of the fjords.

Cappadocia Cliffs, Turkey

(images via: alaskan dude,

the travel guru)

Nicknamed ‘fairy chimneys’, the cliffs of Cappadocia are soft, undulating landscape features formed in volcanic tuff rock by wind and rain. This rock is soft enough that it can be carved and hollowed, so the cliffs have been turned into homes and chapels by the Turkish locals for centuries. Many of the rock formations resemble mushrooms or chimneys, hence the  name. And beneath all of these beautiful and fascinating rock formations is yet another amazing sight – a network of subterranean cities that once housed up to 10,000 Christians escaping persecution.