Levant is an imprecisely defined region in the Middle East south of the Taurus Mountains, bounded by the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and by the northern Arabian Desert and Upper Mesopotamia to the east.
The term Levant is employed to refer to peoples, states, or parts of states in the region, namely:
The media would have you believe that the Levant is a volatile and unfriendly region; the opposite is generally true. While there is occasional confrontations throughout the region, tourism is big business and tourists are generally welcome with open arms. The dominant Arab culture is welcoming and hospitable attitude is a nice change from the sometimes indifferent cultures of European or Western countries. The region also includes many wonderful and distinct cultural and ethnic groups, including the Arabs, Jews, Circassians, Armenians, Iranians, Assyrians, Maronites, Bedouins, Kurds, Druze and Turks.
The Levant is a fantastic destination to lovers of both ancient and modern history. Known by some as the Cradle of Civilization, the Levant contains a multitude of attractions and sites, many of which have been made noteworthy from biblical accounts.
While Arabic is the official language of most Levantine countries (except Israel, which utilizes both the Arabic and Hebrew languages), the spoken dialects vary from place to place. To address these varying dialects, some individual phrasebooks have been created.
There are a number of international airports that facilitate entry into the region.
The Levant region is comprised of a handful of small countries, making transportation from place to place fairly accessible. Taxis, services (pronounced "ser-veeses"), and busses are the main forms of inter-regional transportation. The cost and destination of such services will vary from country to country.
Visit historical places such as old churches and mosques.
Experience smoking hubbly-bubbly in a coffee shop or restaurant, this practice became imbedded in the culture.
Wear the traditional dress in order in immerse yourself in a cultural experience.
Regional cuisine will vary depending on the country. Lebanon, for example, will provide a blend of Arabian, French, and Western styles, while Jordan and Syria will showcase traditional Arabian fare consisting heavily of lamb, chicken, rice, and vegetable dishes. Beef dishes are available but are more rare (no pun intended) than in European or Western countries. Pork products, being non-kosher, not halal or forbidden for religious purposes, are practically nonexistent except in some areas of Lebanon and Jordan.
Every visitor is encouraged to experience Levantine Arabic cuisine. For the few who never develop the taste for it, however, there are plenty of Western-style restaurants to choose from.
Wherever you are in the Levant, be prepared to be offered plenty of cups of tea. Hot tea is a staple beverage in the Levant and is offered as a symbol of hospitality to guests.
For those who like to visit a bar or two on vacation, be prepared to select from a wide variety of bars and pubs, and if you like night life there is a lot of clubs and good yearly events and raves.
The Levant region has been tainted by past violence and the occasional present-day confrontation. While safety and security is generally not a problem for tourists, the subject should be addressed.
Exiting the Levant is generally as easy as entering. International airports are generally the common form of transportation out, one may choose to travel affordably by bus, car, or ferry from Aqaba to Egypt.