The Middle East has a long and varied history. The early history of the area began with the Sumerians (around 3500 BCE) and other local empires. In the 1st c. BCE the region was conquered by the Roman Empire, and by the 5th c. CE, the whole region was predominantly Christian.

With the rise of Islam in the 7th c. and the weakening of the Roman Empire, the Muslim Arabs were able to take over and establish a new Empire of their own. They lasted until the mid-11th c., when the Seljuk Turks abruptly invaded and took over. They were the ones in power when Europe decided to begin the Crusades.

In the 13th c., the Middle East, like many regions, was overtaken by the Mongols. Their reign lasted until the takeover by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th c., who managed to remain more-or-less in power until World War I and the beginning of the modern Middle East as we know it. (From Wikipedia)

A link to an article on architecture in the Islamic Middle East and Clothing and Islam.



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