Five Places to See before the Revolution

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Ephron and Claire Martin

Popular uprisings, while inspiring and (we hope) good for the citizens who spark them, aren't just bad news for dictators. They're often trouble for tourists as well. When Egypt convulsed with protests, airlines canceled flights to Cairo and guards barricaded the great pyramids of Giza. At the Cairo museum that is home to King Tutankhamun and some lesser mummies, troops circled to keep out the looters. The shutdown helped ravage Egypt's economy, about a tenth of which revolves around tourism. It also served as a reminder that political upheaval--in the Middle East or elsewhere--can suddenly limit access to some of the world's most breathtaking sites. With that in mind, newsweek offers a guide for seize-the-day types.


When you think of exotic Marrakech, you probably think of Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart blazing a path in Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much--not anti-government protests like the ones that rocked the "Red City" (and 50 others in Morocco) during February. Marrakech is one of the nation's former imperial cities and still boasts the region's largest bazaar. Protests also spread to the ancient city of Fez, in the northeast. The city is often considered the soul of Morocco, and its oldest district, Fes el Bali, built in the ninth century, is a maze of unpaved alleys lined with fountains, hundreds of mosques, and museums(also, increasingly, dissidents).

Jordan: Petra

It took a Swiss explorer disguised as an Arab to rediscover the stone city of Petra following eight centuries of neglect. (After an ancient Middle Eastern trade route went bust, the city--cut entirely from pink rock formations--fell into obscurity until the explorer arrived in 1812. …