Novel Reading Excercise–Tilka al-Ra’iha

Cultural Resources for Learning About the Middle East


  • With the tag line “an open door to the Arab world,” this source is just that. Al-bab (which translates to “the door,” provides insight into contemporary issues faced by the Arab world. Since it uses English, it may be a great source both for cultural, political, and economic context of the Arab world, but also the context needed to listen to news broadcasts in Arabic. It also provides links to details of individual countries.


  • This source is a digital public library which holds information related to folktales of the Middle East, geographical and societal information of regions and countries in the Middle East as well as art, architecture, history, and culture of areas within the region. Learners can choose to read this information in English or in Arabic demonstrating the ways this website can be used as a language learning resource as well as a cultural source.

The Middle East Resource Guide

  • This guide provides access to sites related to modern media, societies and associations, centers and institutes in various regions, and virtual libraries and sources. Learners interested in the culture and contemporary resources of the Middle East will able to easily access information using this website.


History of the Middle East by Peter Mansfield

  • This book is a classic book on the history of the Middle East from Napoleon’s campaign until 2012 (the fifth edition is an updated version). A history of the Middle East is critical for understanding the cultural, political, and economic influences of the past on the present.

The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden

  • A great way to gauge the culture of a region or country is by tasting the food or even attempting to cook prominent dishes in the region. This book is a great source for those interested in learning the spices, ingredients, and traditions of Middle Eastern cuisine—an essential part of understanding the culture of the region.



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Resources for Self-Instructional Learners of Less Commonly Taught Languages Copyright © by University of Wisconsin-Madison Students in African 671 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.