I thought this was cool, so just wanted to share this true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image of a cloud-free view of the Middle Eastern countries surrounding the Fertile Crescent. (I got the image from NASA.)
Arching along the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea from the Red Sea through modern-day Syria, and then across to the Persian Gulf in an upside-down Ã¢â‚¬Å“uÃ¢â‚¬Â shape, the Fertile Crescent is a rich, food growing area in an otherwise dry, barren land. Anciently, the land nurtured some of the earliest recorded human civilizations. Even today, a narrow strip of green along the Mediterranean Sea and the Euphrates River marks out the Fertile Crescent.
Nestled between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, Mesopotamia forms the eastern half of the Fertile Crescent. “Mesopotamia”Â is a Greek name meaning, “between the rivers”.Â Early civilization began to develop in the region over six thousand years ago. Mesopotamia was home to several ancient cultures out of which came early writing, and some of the first recorded laws and literature.
According to Wikipedia:
Watered by the Nile, Euphrates and Tigris rivers and covering some 400,000-500,000 square kilometers, the region extends from the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea around the north of the Syrian Desert and through the Jazirah and Mesopotamia to the Persian Gulf. These areas correspond to the present-day Egypt, Israel , and Lebanon and parts of Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, south-eastern Turkey and south-western Iran.
The population of the Nile River Basin is about 70 million, the Jordan River Basin about 20 million, and the Tigris and Euphrates Basins about 30 million, giving the present-day Fertile Crescent a total population of approximately 120 million, or at least a quarter of the population of the Middle East.
Most of Mesopotamia, also called the Cradle of Life, is in modern-day Iraq and Syria. A large brown and green area at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers (right center) is the Marshlands of Mesopotamia, home of the Madan, the Marsh Arabs. The marshlands have been drying as water has been diverted upstream for cities and agriculture. A few dark green areas show where the marshlands persist.