Finding Major Middle Eastern Cities on a Map

Instructor: Matthew Bergstresser

Matthew has a Master of Arts degree in Physics Education. He has taught high school chemistry and physics for 14 years.

Some countries in the Middle East are frequently mentioned in the news. This lesson will show you how to locate some of the major capitals of cities in the Middle East region.

Connect the Dots

Have you ever completed a connect-the-dots drawing? I am sure you have. Could you guess what the picture was before you connected the dots? I never could, but maybe you are better at it than I am! I am going to test your skills at this. I will provide you with a series of dots, and you tell me what the shape is before connecting them.

Connect the dots

Can you tell what it is? Let me draw it for you.


Hopefully, now you see that its is the front of an airplane! Why are we drawing an airplane? We are going to take a long journey. By car, it is over 7000 km (over 4000 miles). According to internet-based directions, this would take us over 80 hours to drive from start to stop on the connect-the-dots drawing. No one has time for that, so we'll pretend to fly, which is much quicker. Where are we going? We are going to visit seven major cities in the Middle East.

Start, 1 - Pakistan

Our starting point is Islamabad, Pakistan, which is located in South Asia, but often considered part of the Middle East. Pakistan is sandwiched between Afghanistan and India. Just to the northwest is China! It would be a long, and treacherous (dangerous) hike over the Himalayan mountains to get into China. A famous song was written about a region near Islamabad. Can you figure out what it is?


Stop 2 - Afghanistan

We have to head northeast to get to the capital of Afghanistan, which is Kabul.


The origin of a unique dog breed possibly originated in Afghanistan, the Afghan Hound. It has a thick, long coat, and special hips so it can deal with the cold, and rocky terrain in Afghanistan.

Afghan Hound

Stop 3 - Iran

Moving mostly west, and slightly north, we will reach Tehran, the capital of Iran. It is just south of the southern tip of the Caspian Sea.


Tehran means ''warm slope'', and Iran is the world's largest producer of caviar (fish eggs), pistachio (a nut) and saffron (a spice). Also, it is thought that Persian cats originated in Iran.

From left to right: caviar, pistachio, saffron, Persian cat

Stop 4 - Iraq

We are the furthest north at our stop in Tehran. Now we head southwest to another capital, Baghdad, Iraq.


Baghdad is located on the Tigris River, and considered the ''cradle of civilization'' because it has been inhabited for so long.

Northern Baghdad

Stop 5 - Israel

Continuing southwest, we reach the westernmost city on our trip, Jerusalem, Israel.


Its history goes back over 5000 years and is an important city to three major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.


Stop 6 - Saudi Arabia

Now we are going to point our airplane southeast to the capital city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river. It is also the headquarters of OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), which deals with the supply-and-demand economics of petroleum.

Saudi Arabai circa 1950s

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