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Category: Asia

Hebron 2015

Hebron is a city inside the West Bank, and was occupied by the Israeli army in 1967. It’s a holy city for Muslims, Jews and Christians. The Prophet Ibrahim and many of his family are buried there. This was an exclusively Muslim city for a long, long time. Then the Zionists moved in 400 colonists. And more than 4000 soldiers!…

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Ramallah 2015

Ramallah, in the West Bank, is the de facto capital city of the Palestinian Authority, and they operate their main offices here, as the Israelis don’t let them operate from Jerusalem. Yasser Arafat is buried here. You can get to Ramallah by taking a bus from Jerusalem town centre, and I was impressed I managed to make it there and…

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Jerusalem 2015

Jerusalem is a holy city for two of the world’s major religions – and for one minor one too. It’s a location I’d always wanted to see in person, just because I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I’m not a particularly “spiritual” person. I’m not easily moved by supposedly holy or historically significant places. But… Jerusalem…

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Turkish Cyprus 2015

In 1974, Turkey invaded the northern part of the island of Cyprus and have controlled about 40% of the territory ever since. They’ve named it the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, but in truth it’s just an exclave of Turkey now. After all, they officially use the Turkish language and the Turkish Lira, and have an enormous Turkish military presence.…

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Makkah (Hejaz) 2015

Click here to read part one of the story. Stage two of my first ever trip to Islam’s most revered cities (aka Muslim Disneyland) was the main event: the Umrah (i.e. pilgrimage) to Makkah – birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, where the Quran was first revealed and (according to Muslims) the holiest place in the universe. There are very specific…

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Madinah (Hejaz) 2015

In early 2015, I was given the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia to perform the Umrah pilgrimage. It almost didn’t happen though. Firstly, thanks to a corrupt and deceitful travel agent my passport sat in a drawer for two weeks instead of being sent to the embassy. Then, secondly, I was stymied by the sheer incompetence of the staff at…

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Istanbul 2015

Early 2015 and I was heading back to Istanbul once again for a quick cultural tour of both the European old city and the Anatolian side. I love playing tour guide for family and friends who are visiting new places and, seeing as I’d lived in this city for about six months, I was the perfect person to plan the…

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Bangkok 2013

Once again, thanks to my work, I got an opportunity to spend a few days exploring a city in the Far East. This time, I had four days in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. Luckily, only two of those days were going to be for work. The rest of the time was mine to use as I wanted. And what…

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