The Mediterranean is the cradle of modern civilization and it has been here all along with us or, better yet, we have been here with it. Presumably we are a part of it, although we like to babble that we are more of a Central European than a Mediterranean country. Maybe the reason for this is that we are not as familiar with the Mediterranean as with the Central Europe. So let’s set out on a journey – let’s meet the Mediterranean – modern, luxurious but still full of historical layers that we can leaf through like a history book.
Tunisia enchants with its scenes of endless olive groves, vineyards and orange and lemon fields in the north, while its south, on the edge of the Sahara, is quiet, desolate, with oases of date-palms. There is also the rich heritage of ancient civilizations, from the early Caspian man, the Phoenicians (the Carthaginians – Hannibal), the Roman Empire that was removed from power by the Vandals, a trace of a thousand-year-old Arab rule, whose power was taken by the Ottoman Empire. Tunisia is called the Jewel of Africa; it is a country of colors and contrasts that opens the door of this continent in the most beautiful way. The devotees of relaxation will enjoy Hammamet, the best-known Tunisian summer resort, which is situated 65 kilometers southeast of the capital of Tunisia. This picturesque and modern place is an excellent choice for relaxation and entertainment, as well as shopping. The cultural and entertainment offer is rich. Numerous restaurants and bars, various shops with clothes and souvenirs, picturesque stands with products from local workshops and spices, and kilometer-long sandy beaches guarantee varying experiences and the most beautiful memories.
For those who need action, a safari though the Sahara is ideal. In the place called Matmata, it is interesting to visit the original Berber underground house, then the Douz oasis, the Chott El Jerid salt lake, as well as the picturesque town of Tozeur. A visit to the two of the most beautiful mountain oases – Chebika and Tamerza is an extraordinary experience. Of course, a visit to this country should be spiced up with going to the city of Tunis as well, since the east and the west are entwined in it, and tradition and the modern lifestyle are connected. Not far from the city there is a wonderful Mediterranean place called Sidi Bou Said – an artist’s town built with blue and white walls, and the remains of Carthage are close as well.
One of the most popular, in a number of captivating Greek islands is Rhodes, the island of Byzantine monasteries, medieval fortress walls, lively quays, beautiful beaches and culinary delicacies served with famed Greek kindness. Despite the longest tourist tradition in Greece, it is still possible to find a corner only for yourself on Rhodes, on one of the beautiful beaches. The warm sea is suitable for swimming from early spring to late autumn. The center of the town of Rhodes is one of the best-preserved medieval places in Europe, while the new part of the town is the source of crazy nightlife with numerous hotels, shops and clubs where the party lasts till morning.
In Rhodes you should see the cathedral next to the entrance into the quay where once, according to the legend, the celebrated Colossus statue stood, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The hill of Monte Smith, where the ruins of the Acropolis of ancient Rhodes are located, is equally impressive, as well as the Temple of Apollo, the ancient stadium and the theater. It is splendid to become familiar with the other pearls of the island: places Kolymbia, Faliraki and Kallithea. Kolymbia, which was once a fishing village, is a pleasant tourist place, the right choice for those who want to spend their holidays in quiet surroundings.
Faliraki lies on the east side of the island. With a beautiful sandy beach and a rich selection of restaurants, bars, clubs and nightlife, it attracts the devotees of swimming, sunbathing and entertainment from all parts of the world, especially for its water park, the biggest one in Greece. Kallithea is a peaceful tourist center with rocky beaches on the east side of the island, not far from the main city of Rhodes. Famous ancient thermal springs are not used at the moment, but the renovated architecture of the thermae and the beautiful step-like bay, ideal for diving, are enchanting.
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
The home of powerful pharaohs is one of the most beautiful resorts, due to its rich archaeological sites, as well as for the richest and most colorful undersea world. The best-known Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh is favored among the divers and amongst golfers who enjoy the playground surrounded with Mount Sinai and the desert on one side, and the turquoise sea on the other. On the other hand, children adore camel riding on Mount Sinai, accompanied by a Bedouin. Sharm el-Sheikh is well known as “the pearl of Sinai”, and tourists adore its beaches in winter, too.
Not far away there is the monastery of St. Catherine: the Greek Eastern Orthodox monastery lies in the picturesque valley Wadi Deira, on the slopes of Mount Sinai and Moses’ Hill. That is where, according to Christian belief, Moses received the Ten Commandments and this monastery is the most visited monastery in the world. In addition to this, an excursion to Cairo is also popular because there, at Giza, are the legendary pyramids – of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, the small Queen’s pyramids and the Great Sphinx. A jeep safari is also interesting and you can start from Sharm el-Sheikh and drive in jeeps through the desert and along the roads through the White Canyon and the oasis. During the safari you become familiar with the Bedouin lifestyle, and you can ride camels to Dahabi.
The rich history, archaeological sights and the diversity of cultural heritage enchant every tourist visiting Turkey. Numerous picturesque villages, many monuments of past civilizations, romantic bays and kilometer-long sandy and pebble beaches. The hotels are luxurious and sumptuous, with the best hotel entertainment in the Mediterranean. Shopping is a special experience in Turkey because products made of gold, leather and fabric are acceptably-priced and of good quality.
One of the new resorts in the Antalya Bay is Belek, a center with first-class hotel facilities, surrounded by pine trees and eucalyptus groves, and the beaches are sandy and wonderfully laid out. Belek is devoted to the guest’s enjoyment and it is especially liked by the golfers because there are excellent golf courses nearby. Those who decide on becoming familiar with the beauties of Turkey have an ideal chance to do so while they are spending their summer holidays in Belek. They can go on an excursion to Antalya, to the part called Lara, where they can see the 40-meter waterfall Duden Selalesi by the sea. Everybody will be enchanted by the old town’s center where they can try out the laws of supply and demand and haggle with Turkish sellers.
One beautiful experience is an excursion to Pamukkale, a cotton town next to which one of Turkey’s largest natural features – the limestone pools. In Pamukkale, tourists enjoy bathing in the natural Pool of Cleopatra or visiting the lime terraces with their small pools, glimmering with white-blue colors.
History lovers will definitely devote a day to visit Perga. That is where they will see the remains of town walls, Roman and the Hellenistic gates, stadia and Roman thermals and in the nearby Aspendos there is the most beautifully preserved Roman theater in the world where even today performances and concerts of world famous musicians are held.