The Middle East is generally seen as the cradle of civilization. While it is accepted that agrarian societies developed independent of each other all over the world the first evidence of humans shift from roving hunters and gathers to a sedentary life of agriculture comes from the Levant area as early as 12,000BC.
Civilization developed in the area of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The rivers created a steady flow of water for irrigation and new fertile soil. The abundance of food meant people had time for other pursuits and civilizations were able to develop. The Mesopotamian civilization began to emerge about 6000BC.
Now the region is becoming a war torn mess with civil unrest and revolutions. America using it as its battle ground for the “War of Terror”, which as only created more terrorists and more problems. ISIS (or their local acronym) or attacking people and cities and then destroying the ancient wonders that had remained for so long.
The Middle East is divided into the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries and the not. If you are in the GCC countries (Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, or UAE) expect things to be expensive. Shopping, eating, hotels, everything is expensive. It is that way because the people of these countries have money to burn. These are the big oil producing countries and the government subsidizes families with money for many things.
The other countries is the region can be less expensive but their amenities will be less updated than the GCC area, for the most part.
Before you travel to the Middle East check the recent news for the areas you plan to travel to. Check the travel advisories for the area. Travel safe and smart in the area. I have to say that living in Kuwait I have not felt worried about the fighting in the Middle East effecting me or my safety.
One last and important thing to note is the area is Muslim and conservative. Travel in the summer may be difficult because it is hot and you will still be expected to cover yourself with knees and elbows covered. Women will need a scarf so you can cover your head if needed, a must in Mosques and other religious sites.