The physical geography of the Middle East in the Anthropocene

Authored by: C. Michael Hall

Routledge Handbook on Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138651920
eBook ISBN: 9781315624525
Adobe ISBN:


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The geographical concept of the Middle East is more a political and cultural concept than a physical one. Nevertheless, the landscape and physical environment of the region play an important part in the attractiveness of the region as well as many of the challenges the region faces. The region is a meeting place of both human and physical geography, while the very notion of a ‘Middle East’ is associated with the role the region plays in being a cultural and economic crossroads between Asia, Africa and Europe. However, the physical geography is greatly shaped by the various tectonic plates that interact with each other in the region and have helped contribute to the spectacular landscapes that draw tourists, as well as to the region’s active geology. Indeed, the tectonic landscape is closely related to the cultural landscape and tectonic events such as earthquakes and tsunamis have shaped the region’s history, folklore and religions. The chapter is divided into two main sections. The first section places the physical geography of the region in the context of its tectonic plates as a way of organising the different regions and main water bodies. The second section discusses issues of understanding its physical geography, given the notion of the Anthropocene as a distinct geological period, especially in relation to vegetation and landscape change.

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