Hidden Treasures: Eight Cats in the Middle East

Joel Carillet's picture

If you watch or read the news, you're likely aware that the Middle East has sand and oil, camels and conflict, ancient civilizations and modern challenges. But you might not know, at least via the news, that the region has a fair number of cats.


The photos below focus on the cats of the Middle East. Like cats everywhere, they have personality and moods. They have a long history in the region too. And often, for the traveleing photographer, they provide enjoyable moments of distraction.


Cat in Cairo

Here a cat is sitting atop a bale of Egyptian cotton in a market in Islamic Cairo, Egypt. The street behind him, which leads to Bab Zuweila, was one of the most famous thoroughfares in the Middle East about one thousand years ago.


Cat in Lebanon

This critter is enjoying refuge from the hot summer sun in Tripoli, Lebanon. The sandbags belong to a military base.


Cat in Jerusalem

Here a black cat in Jerusalem's Old City is walking the rooftops in the Muslim Quarter.


Cat in Jordan

Shortly after sunrise this cat is maintaining its poise atop the steps of The Treasury, the most famous structure in Petra, Jordan. The Treasury actually never had anything to do with finance; the first-century structure was likely built as a tomb for a Nabatean king.


Cat in Israel

Ein Kerem, an Israeli town just outside Jerusalem, is considered the birthplace of John the Baptist, that famous New Testament figure who baptised Jesus and prefered honey and locusts over falafel. This cat wouldn't have yet been born back in John's day, but in looking at its expression I couldn't help but wonder if it was the descendent of a clan of biblical-era demon possessed felines.


Cat in Lebanon

Here on the coast of Tyre, Lebanon, a city that has known paralyzing conflict as recently as 2006, even the cats enjoy the beach on a peaceful early evening.


Cat in Egypt

Speaking of conflict, this cat is resting by an overturned boat in Alexandria, Egypt, a city rocked by a terrorist attack outside a church in the wee hours of 2011.


Cat in Syria

There was no conflict the morning I took this picture in Damascus, Syria. Nor, because it was just after dawn, were people yet out in the streets. I got onto my belly and just laid here for about 20 minutes, watching these two cats and several others looking heavenward -- or at least toward a second-floor balcony. The city was still quiet of people, and the cats didn't seem to mind my solitary presence.




Joel Carillet, chief editor of Wandering Educators, is a freelance writer and photographer based in Tennessee. He is the author of 30 Reasons to Travel: Photographs and Reflections from Southeast Asia. To learn more about him, follow his regular photoblog, or purchase prints, visit www.joelcarillet.com.