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North Africa and Southwest Asia (Middle East). Leading countries according to GDP. Kuwait United Arab Emirates Qatar Israel. Leading countries according to Land size. Algeria Saudi Arabia Libya. Leading countries according to population. Iran Turkey Egypt. Physical Characteristics.

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leading countries according to gdp
Leading countries according to GDP
  • Kuwait
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Qatar
  • Israel
physical characteristics
Physical Characteristics
  • Area is the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and Asia
  • It has a primarily desert or semi-arid climate
  • Sahara, Sahel, and steppes are the primary vegetation region
Sahara--world’s largest desert, it stretches over most of North Africa and is growing
  • Sahel--area separating the Sahara from the tropical rainforest of Africa.
The Sahel is an area of temperate grassland (steppe) moving into sparse desert scrub-like vegetation
Three main mountain ranges
    • 1. Atlas Mountains in northern Algeria and Morocco
    • 2. Taurus Mountains in southern Turkey
    • 3. Zagros Mountains in western Iran
Even though this is a dry area, water plays a very large role
  • There are several large bodies of water which play a major role in world politics
Examples :
    • Persian Gulf/Arabian Gulf
    • Strait of Hormuz
    • Arabian Sea
    • Red Sea
Other important bodies of water
  • Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Bosporus Strait, Dardanelles Strait, Nile River (longest in the world), Tigris and Euphrates (home to the world’s first civilization) and the Jordan River
The area is also subject to seasonal flooding, alluvial soils, delta regions, oases, and wadis
Seasonal flooding--several of the rivers flood regularly (Nile) which deposit rich alluvial soil for farming
The desert regions are home to many oases (a place where fresh water makes it possible for life to exist in a dry area) and wadi (a gully or usually dry river bed cut by running water after a downpour)
economic characteristics
Economic Characteristics
  • The area has a heavy reliance on primary economic activities such as oil drilling, agriculture and herding/grazing
The area is the home of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
  • Many countries in the area still belong today
  • Major producers of the world’s oil
  • Provide large oil revenues
Positive effects--jobs, revenue, position of power
  • Negative effects--reliance on one industry, pollution, unequal distribution of wealth
Water is the region’s MOSTPRECIOUS resource
  • Aswan High Dam has had positive and negative effects on the region.
  • Suez Canal enhanced shipping routes in the region
Positive effects of the Aswan High dam
    • Controls flooding, recreation areas, power
  • Negative effects of the Aswan high Dam
    • land losing fertility, lost homes when dam built,
There is a great variation in the standard of living in the region.
  • It ranges from the relatively high to the poverty stricken.
  • There is also a wide range of per capita income and differing levels of development
Trade has been important to the region from the earliest time.
  • Today regional conflicts and political unrest have affected trade and tourism
  • The area today has contemporary trade routes (sea lanes)
cultural characteristics
Cultural Characteristics
  • The area has experienced rapid urbanization
  • Most modernization has centered around urban areas and more traditional life has continued in the rural areas
Large percentage of the population is under the age of 15 due to conflict, disease and the hardships associated with the region.
  • The population is generally unevenly distributed due to the environment and resources
All but three of the countries are Arab nations and they use the Arabic language.
  • Turkey, Iran and Israel are the non-Arab countries
North Africa and Southwest Asia are the birthplace to three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
  • All three claim similar holy places and the dominant group has changed over the years.
Since 1949, the region has been in conflict over the area known as PALESTINE. This area is present day Israel.
Much of the region has a nomadic lifestyle
  • NOMADIC-to wander from place to place behind a food source or for other reasons
The art of the region reflects the diversity of the religions;
  • stained glass, geometric tiles, calligraphy, mosaics, and prayer rugs
cities as centers of trade and culture
Cities as centers of trade and culture
  • Baghdad, Iraq
  • Cairo, Egypt
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Jerusalem, Israel
  • Mecca, Saudi Arabia
  • Tehran, Iran
cultural landscape
Cultural Landscape
  • Mosques, minarets
  • Church of the Holy Sepulcher
  • Hagia Sophia
  • bazaars, sugs
  • Western Wall (of Jerusalem)
Dome of the Rock
  • Kaaba
  • Pyramids
  • Oil rigs
  • walled cities