Orient meets Occident
Where else on earth do so many different cultures and religions meet than in the Mediterranean?
The history of the Mediterranean is one of the oldest in humanity. Once the cradle of human civilization, today a important culturally rich center of the world. First civilizations arose about 5,000 years ago along the Nile and in the Levant. Both agriculture and urban culture have spread from there throughout Europe. Modern science, philosophy and democracy have their roots here, making the region the cradle of the Western culture today.
About 3000 years ago, the Greeks began the colonization of the western and northern Mediterranean area. Centuries ago, the Orient and the Occident met here and exchanged valuable day to day commodities and jewels. There was a lot of activity and wars very often changed the borders and the distribution of power. Many testimonies of history are still visible today in many parts of Europe, especially in terms of architecture and traditions.
In the Middle Age, Arab states preferred to build their granaries in Spain and Sicily, while the Romans preferred North Africa. Through the sailors and traders from all over the world the cultures and their lifestyles slowly mixed and a multi-faceted mix was created that is still unequaled today.
The entire Mediterranean region encompasses far more countries than you might think!
Its territory spans three continents: Europe, Africa and Asia.
Europe includes Portugal, Spain, Andorra, France, Monaco, Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece and European Turkey.
Asia includes Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Cyprus.
The African region includes Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
Some interesting facts:
The northernmost point is in Veneto at the foot of the Alps and the westernmost at Cabo da Roca near Lisbon. In the east the area borders the Syrian desert and in the south on the north Africa Sahara.
Its west-east extend from the Strait of Gibraltar to the shores of the Gulf of Iskenderun on the southwestern coast of Turkey is approximately 4,000km, and its average north-south extent, between Croatia’s southernmost shores and Libya, is about 800km.
The Mediterranean Sea, including the Sea of Marmara, has a surface area of approximately 2,510,000 square km. The coastline extends for 46,000km.
The typical Mediterranean climate has hot, humid, and dry summers and mild, rainy winters.
The Mediterranean region is the most popular tourist destination in the world, attracting approximately one third of the world’s international tourists.
There are more than 3300 islands in the Med rich in history, various cultures, world heritage sites and an abundance of art museums. Select a starting point to explore breathtaking coastlines, golden beaches, hiking trails and last of all, a shady spot to enjoy a nice glass of wine!
Then you can begin to understand the true meaning of Mediterranean lifestyle.