Near East

Near East topographic map
Inhabitants of the Near East, late 19th century
Ottoman Porte, 1767, gateway to trade with the Levant. Painting by Antoine de Favray.
British troops, Crimea, 1855
Australian troops, Gallipoli, 1915. The battle was an Ottoman victory.
Logotype of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs

Geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental region in Western Asia, that was once the historical Fertile Crescent, and later the Levant region.

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Western Asia

Westernmost subregion of the larger geographical region of Asia, as defined by some academics, UN bodies and other institutions.

A Lebanese Cedar Forest in winter
Köppen climate classification map of West Asia
Pilgrims in the annual Hajj at the Kaabah in Mecca.
Cathedral of Saint Elijah, Aleppo.
Jews Praying at the Western Wall.
Druze dignitaries celebrating the Ziyarat al-Nabi Shu'ayb festival at the tomb of the prophet in Hittin
Yazidi pilgrims celebrating the Yazidi new year festival at the ancient holy temple of Lalish, Iraq

Its typical definitions overlap substantially, but not entirely, with definitions of the terms Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean, and Near East (which is historically familiar but is widely deprecated today).

Far East

Eurocentric term to refer to the geographical regions that includes East and Southeast Asia as well as the Russian Far East to a lesser extent.

Eurocentrism as the term for an ideology was coined by Samir Amin in the 1970s

The term first came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 15th century, particularly the British, denoting the Far East as the "farthest" of the three "Easts", beyond the Near East and the Middle East.


Approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia.

French medal commemorating the Franco-Turkish War in Cilicia, circa 1920
1909 postcard depicting Ottoman Constantinople and bearing a French stamp inscribed "Levant"
Satellite view of the Levant including Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan and the Northern Sinai
Prince from Lebanon and Muslim from Damascus, late 19th century
Map representing the distribution of the Arabic dialects in the area of the Levant

The term is also used for modern events, peoples, states or parts of states in the same region, namely Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey are sometimes considered Levant countries (compare with Near East, Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean and Western Asia).

Food and Agriculture Organization

Specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security.

FAO Commemorative 1998 30th Anniv MM Programme Bronze Obverse
Lester Bowles Pearson presiding at a plenary session of the founding conference of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. October 1945.
FAO headquarters in Rome
Liaison Office for North America in Washington, DC
The Food Price Index (FAO) 1990–2012
FAO fisheries expert, Ceylon, 1950s

Regional Office for the Near East, in Cairo, Egypt


Country in Western Asia.

The 'Ain Ghazal Statues (c. 7250 BC) of Amman are some of the oldest human statues ever found.
The Mesha Stele (c. 840 BC) records the glory of Mesha, King of Moab
Al-Khazneh in Petra (c. 1st century AD), is believed to be the mausoleum of the Arab Nabataean King Aretas IV.
The Oval Forum of Jerash (c. 1st century AD), then member of the ten-city Roman league, the Decapolis. Seven out of the ten Decapolis cities are present in modern-day Jordan.
The earliest detailed map of the land which became Jordan, showing the travels of Johann Ludwig Burckhardt (the first European to see Petra since the Crusades) in 1822
Soldiers of the Hashemite-led Arab Army holding the flag of the Great Arab Revolt in 1916
Al-Salt residents gather on 20 August 1920 during the British High Commissioner's visit to Transjordan.
King Abdullah I on 25 May 1946 reading the declaration of independence.
King Hussein on 21 March 1968 checking an abandoned Israeli tank in the aftermath of the Battle of Karameh.
Army Chief Habis Majali and Prime Minister Wasfi Tal during a military parade in 1970, two widely acclaimed national figures.
Wadi Rum's resemblance to the surface of Mars has made it a popular filming and tourist attraction.
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth.
A forest in Ajloun, northern Jordan.
The House of Representatives during a parliamentary session
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump with King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan at the White House, 2017.
An Amman City Centre Police patrol vehicle.
Change in per capita GDP of Jordan, 1950–2018. Figures are inflation-adjusted to 2011 International Geary-Khamis dollars.
View of a part of the capital Amman
Queen Alia International Airport near Amman was chosen as the best airport in the Middle East for 2014 and 2015 by ASQ.
Al-Maghtas ruins on the Jordanian side of the Jordan River, believed by many to have been the location of the Baptism of Jesus and the ministry of John the Baptist
The Dana Biosphere Reserve in southern Jordan lies along the Jordan Trail, a hiking path that is gaining popularity
A phosphate train at Ram station
The Aqaba Flagpole in the southernmost city of Aqaba, Jordan's only coastal outlet
The 117 MW Tafila Wind Farm in southern Jordan is the first and largest onshore wind farm in the Middle East.
An aerial view of a portion of the Zaatari refugee camp which contains a population of 80,000 Syrian refugees, the largest Syrian refugee camp in the world.
Jordanian school girls pictured reading in a public school. Jordan's total youth female literacy rate (15 – 24 years) was 99.37% in 2015.
Jordanian folklore band playing bagpipes in Jerash.
Mansaf, the traditional dish of Jordan. Inspired from Bedouin culture, it is a symbol of Jordanian hospitality.

'Ain Ghazal, one such village located at a site in the east of present-day Amman, is one of the largest known prehistoric settlements in the Near East.


Logo-syllabic script that was used to write several languages of the Ancient Near East.

Table illustrating the progressive simplification of cuneiform signs from archaic (vertical) script to Assyrian
round clay envelopes
Tablet with proto-cuneiform pictographic characters (end of 4th millennium BC), Uruk III. This is thought to be a list of slaves' names, the hand in the upper left corner representing the owner.
The Kish tablet, a limestone tablet from Kish with pictographic, early cuneiform, writing, 3500 BC. Possibly the earliest known example of writing. Ashmolean Museum.
Early pictographic signs in archaic cuneiform (used vertically before c.2300 BC).
Sumerian inscription in monumental archaic style, c. 26th century BC
Contract for the sale of a field and a house in the wedge-shaped cuneiform adapted for clay tablets, Shuruppak, circa 2600 BC.
Cuneiform inscriptions recorded by Jean Chardin in Persepolis in 1674 (1711 edition)
Hypothesis for the sentence structure of Persepolitan inscriptions, by Grotefend (1815).
Relying on deductions only, and without knowing the actual script or language, Grotefend obtained a near-perfect translation of the Xerxes inscription (Niebuhr inscription 2): "Xerxes the strong King, King of Kings, son of Darius the King, ruler of the world" ("Xerxes Rex fortis, Rex regum, Darii Regis Filius, orbis rector", right column). The modern translation is: "Xerxes the Great King, King of Kings, son of Darius the King, an Achaemenian".
The quadrilingual hieroglyph-cuneiform "Caylus vase" in the name of Xerxes I confirmed the decipherment of Grotefend once Champollion was able to read Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Once Old Persian had been fully deciphered, the trilingual Behistun Inscription permitted the decipherment of two other cuneiform scripts: Elamite and Babylonian.
The first known Sumerian-Akkadian bilingual tablet dates from the reign of Rimush. Louvre Museum AO 5477. The top column is in Sumerian, the bottom column is its translation in Akkadian.
Extract from the Cyrus Cylinder (lines 15–21), giving the genealogy of Cyrus the Great and an account of his capture of Babylon in 539 BC
Cuneiform sign "EN", for "Lord" or "Master": evolution from the pictograph of a throne circa 3000 BC, followed by simplification and rotation down to circa 600 BC.
Sumerian was the last and most ancient language to be deciphered. Sale of a number of fields, probably from Isin, c. 2600 BC.
Cuneiform writing in Ur, southern Iraq
Pre-cuneiform tablet, end of the 4th millennium BC.
Proto-cuneiform tablet, Jemdet Nasr period, c. 3100–2900 BC.
Proto-cuneiform tablet, Jemdet Nasr period, c. 3100–2900 BC. A dog on a leash is visible in the background of the lower panel.<ref>{{cite web|title=Proto-cuneiform tablet|url=|}}</ref>
The Blau Monuments combine proto-cuneiform characters and illustrations, 3100–2700 BC. British Museum.
<center>"Assurbanipal King of Assyria"
The Rassam cylinder with translation of a segment about the Assyrian conquest of Egypt by Ashurbanipal against "Black Pharaoh" Taharqa, 643 BC
thumb|Niebuhr inscription 1, with the suggested words for "King" ({{Script|Xpeo|𐎧𐏁𐎠𐎹𐎰𐎡𐎹}}) highlighted. Inscription now known to mean "Darius the Great King, King of Kings, King of countries, son of Hystaspes, an Achaemenian, who built this Palace".<ref name="BAS129">{{cite book |last1=André-Salvini |first1=Béatrice |title=Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia |date=2005 |publisher=University of California Press |isbn=978-0-520-24731-4 |page=129 |url= |language=en}}</ref>
thumb|Niebuhr inscription 2, with the suggested words for "King" ({{Script|Xpeo|𐎧𐏁𐎠𐎹𐎰𐎡𐎹}}) highlighted. Inscription now known to mean "Xerxes the Great King, King of Kings, son of Darius the King, an Achaemenian".
Cuneiform ama-gi, literally "return to the mother", loosely translated as "liberty", is the logo of Liberty Fund.<ref name="Liberty">{{cite web |title=Our Logo {{!}} Liberty Fund |url= | |access-date=14 May 2020 |language=en |quote=The cuneiform inscription that serves as Liberty Fund's logo and as a design element in our books is the earliest-known written appearance of the word 'freedom' (amagi), or 'liberty'. It is taken from a clay document written about 2300 B.C. in the Sumerian city-state of Lagash.}}</ref>
The central element of the GigaMesh Software Framework logo is the sign 𒆜 (kaskal) meaning "street" or "road junction", which symbolizes the intersection of the humanities and computer science. The name GigaMesh is an intentional reference to the legendary Gilgamesh from Mesopotamian folklore.

Writing is first recorded in Uruk, at the end of the 4th millennium BC, and soon after in various parts of the Near-East.

Fertile Crescent

Crescent-shaped region in the Middle East, spanning modern-day Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Northern Egypt, together with the northern region of Kuwait, southeastern region of Turkey and the western portion of Iran.

Map showing the larger area including Cyprus
1916 map of the Fertile Crescent by James Henry Breasted, who popularised usage of the phrase.
Area of the fertile crescent, circa 7500 BCE, with main sites of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period. The area of Mesopotamia proper was not yet settled by humans. Includes Göbekli Tepe, a site in modern-day Turkey that is dated circa 9000 BCE.
Diffusion of agriculture from the Fertile Crescent after 9000 BCE

The studies further suggest a diffusion of this diverse population away from the Fertile Crescent, with the early migrants moving away from the Near East—westward into Europe and North Africa, northward to Crimea, and northeastward to Mongolia.

Triple Entente

The Triple Entente (from French entente meaning "friendship, understanding, agreement") describes the informal understanding between the Russian Empire, the French Third Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

A 1914 Russian poster in which the upper inscription reads "agreement". The uncertain Britannia (right) and Marianne (left) look to the determined Mother Russia (centre) to lead them in the coming war.

and helped to address British fears about the Baghdad Railway, which would help German expansion in the Near East.

Ancient Near East

The home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia , ancient Egypt, ancient Iran (Elam, Media, Parthia and Persia), Anatolia/Asia Minor and the Armenian Highlands (Turkey's Eastern Anatolia Region, Armenia, northwestern Iran, southern Georgia, and western Azerbaijan), the Levant (modern Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan), Cyprus and the Arabian Peninsula.

Overview map of the ancient Near East

The ancient Near East is studied in the fields of Ancient Near East studies, Near Eastern archaeology and ancient history.


Country in Southeast Europe.

The entrance of the Treasury of Atreus (13th BC) in Mycenae
Herodotus (c. 484 BC—c. 425 BC), often considered the "father of history"
Fresco displaying the Minoan ritual of "bull leaping", found in Knossos
Greek territories and colonies during the Archaic period (750–550 BC)
The Parthenon on the Acropolis of Athens, icon of classical Greece.
Alexander the Great, whose conquests led to the Hellenistic Age.
Map of Alexander's short-lived empire (334–323 BC). After his death the lands were divided between the Diadochi
The Antikythera mechanism (c. 100 BC) is considered to be the first known mechanical analog computer (National Archaeological Museum, Athens).
A view from the ancient royal Macedonian tombs in Vergina
The Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens, built in 161 AD
Dome of Hagia Sophia, Thessaloniki (8th century), one of the 15 UNESCO's Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of the city
The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, originally built in the late 7th century as a Byzantine citadel and beginning from 1309 used by the Knights Hospitaller as an administrative centre
The Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire after the death of Basil II in 1025
The Byzantine castle of Angelokastro successfully repulsed the Ottomans during the First Great Siege of Corfu in 1537, the siege of 1571, and the Second Great Siege of Corfu in 1716, causing them to abandon their plans to conquer Corfu.
The White Tower of Thessaloniki, one of the best-known Ottoman structures remaining in Greece.
The sortie (exodus) of Messolonghi, depicting the Third Siege of Missolonghi, painted by Theodoros Vryzakis.
The Battle of Navarino in 1827 secured Greek independence.
The Entry of King Otto in Athens, painted by Peter von Hess in 1839.
The territorial evolution of the Kingdom of Greece from 1832 to 1947.
Hellenic Army formation in the World War I Victory Parade in Arc de Triomphe, Paris, July 1919.
Map of Greater Greece after the Treaty of Sèvres, when the Megali Idea seemed close to fulfillment, featuring Eleftherios Venizelos as its supervising genius.
The Axis occupation of Greece.
People in Athens celebrate the liberation from the Axis powers, October 1944. Postwar Greece would soon experience a civil war and political polarization.
Signing at Zappeion by Constantine Karamanlis of the documents for the accession of Greece to the European Communities in 1979.
Navagio (shipwreck) bay, Zakynthos island
The Greek mainland and several small islands seen from Nydri, Lefkada
Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece and mythical abode of the Gods of Olympus
The building of the Hellenic Parliament (Old Royal Palace) in central Athens.
Count Ioannis Kapodistrias, first governor, founder of the modern Greek State, and distinguished European diplomat
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister since 2019
Representation through: 
 embassy in another country
 general consulate
 no representation
GDP per capita development
A proportional representation of Greece exports, 2019
Greece's debt percentage since 1977, compared to the average of the Eurozone
Sun-drying of Zante currant on Zakynthos
Solar-power generation potential in Greece
Greek companies control 16.2% of the world's total merchant fleet making it the largest in the world. They are ranked in the top 5 for all kinds of ships, including first for tankers and bulk carriers.
Santorini, a popular tourist destination, is ranked as the world's top island in many travel magazines and sites.
The Rio–Antirrio bridge connects mainland Greece to the Peloponnese.
Thessaloniki Science Center and Technology Museum
Georgios Papanikolaou, a pioneer in cytopathology and early cancer detection
Hermoupolis, on the island of Syros, is the capital of the Cyclades.
Population pyramid of Greece in 2017
Our Lady of Tinos
Regions with a traditional presence of languages other than Greek. Today, Greek is the dominant language throughout the country.
A map of the fifty countries with the largest Greek diaspora communities.
The Academy of Athens is Greece's national academy and the highest research establishment in the country.
The Ionian Academy in Corfu, the first academic institution of modern Greece.
The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, still used for theatrical plays.
Close-up of the Charioteer of Delphi, a celebrated statue from the 5th century BC.
Towerhouses of Vatheia in Mani peninsula
Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù, the first theatre and opera house of modern Greece
Parnassos Literary Society, painted by Georgios Roilos (Kostis Palamas is at the center)
A statue of Plato in Athens.
Cretan dancers of traditional folk music
Rebetes in Karaiskaki, Piraeus (1933). Left Markos Vamvakaris with bouzouki.
Mikis Theodorakis was one of the most popular and significant Greek composers
A Greek salad, with feta and olives.
Theodoros Angelopoulos, winner of the Palme d'Or in 1998, notable director in the history of the European cinema
Spyridon Louis entering the Panathenaic Stadium at the end of the marathon; 1896 Summer Olympics.
Angelos Charisteas scoring Greece's winning goal in the UEFA Euro 2004 Final
The Greek national basketball team in 2008. Twice European champions (1987 and 2005) and second in the world in 2006
Procession in honor of the Assumption of Virgin Mary (15 August)

Neolithic settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries, as Greece lies on the route via which farming spread from the Near East to Europe.