Cultures In North Africa That Have Been Lost To Civilization

“The Berber People”

The Berber People

Named this way, the history of this nomadic civilization that was present in the west side of the Nile Valley is very extensive and also diverse. They are non-Arabic tribes related only by culture and language but with no fixed territory. They inhabited the region for such a huge amount of time that was even referenced by the Egyptians under the name of Temehu (3,000 BC). There has never been a political unity among them, we can´t speak even today about a Berber Empire, but many that have lived along with each other for thousands of years.

The Berber lands have always been very important since they were crossroads for all the people trading between Africa. The Middle East and the South of Europe.

Because of this and their nomadic kind, the Berbers have mixed with many ethnic groups and hence can be recognized because of the language they speak rather than the distinct facial features among them. Actually, the language they share is one of the oldest known to man.

“The Kingdom Of Aksum”

The Kingdom Of Aksum

Have you ever heard of the Rastafari movement? Well, they are not just a group of reggae listeners, they worship their messiah named Haile Selassie I, the last Emperor of Ethiopia, the only country in the whole of Africa that wasn´t dominated by Europe. They have created their own version of the Christian faith and claim that their royalty is the product of an affair between the Queen of Sheba and none other than King Solomon, meaning that they descend directly from the Biblical House of David.

Now, it´s well-known among historians that in the 13th Century, an Amhara noble who claimed to be descendent from the Iron Age dynasty called Aksum founded the Solomonic dynasty. This noble, named Yekuno, was the one who gave birth to the legend that the bastard son of King Solomon and Queen of Sheba founded Aksum. Haile Selassie, the Messiah, was a member of the Solomonic dynasty

Much like the Ethiopians do nowadays, the inhabitants of the Aksum kingdom, the Aksumites spoke a Semitic language. The kingdom is also widely connected with modern Israel and features a very large population of Jews from an indigenous kind (also known as the Beta Israel).

The olden Kings of Aksum had brought much of what we now know as Yemen, Sudan and Ethiopia under their control around 3rd and 4th centuries AD as well as smaller percentages of Saudi Arabia and Egypt and was one of the four greatest empires humankind has ever gotten to know along with ancient China, Roman, and Persian.

Jewish queen Yodit overthrew Aksum in the 10th Century. Regardless of this, the legacy in terms of politics and culture survived more than a millennium to the present date. Institutions such as the Amhara people, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and the line connecting the Solomonic dynasty to the ancient Judea come from the memories of a huge empire.

Foods That Can Only Be Found In the Middle East

As we all know, the globalized world we live in every day has blended all cultures and found new market niches to commercialize foreign food in virtually every country in the world.

Globalized Mutations

Since migration is so common nowadays, it´s fairly easy for any global citizen to find pairs and a restaurant to go eat and have fun, regardless of the city in the world they are currently at. One very interesting phenomenon is that the lack of some specific ingredients to prepare certain recipes makes the imagination of chefs and cooks go wild and give birth to brand new combinations based on ancient knowledge: the famous globalized mutations. This being said, we can´t assure you these would be something that can´t be found anywhere outside the country of origin but are things you should definitely try if you come across with them.


This particular dish takes the name from the recipient (pot) it is cooked in. It is a North African traditional tribal dish found in several countries like Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. Vegetables and meat are cooked together in the same container only in the liquids each ingredient releases during the cooking. No extra water is added and the entire vapor generated within the pot is condensed in its conical hat ‘raining’ over and adding up to the natural juices. This delight is often served with some couscous, which is very similar to rice.


It might sound familiar because of the utterly known kofta that the Indian cuisine has made famous around the world. The kefta is previous, a predecessor that comes in a simpler but equally tasteful presentation: simple ground meat (it can be lamb or cow) seasoned only mildly with parsley and paprika. Once it is prepared, It is grilled like a kebab and served (just with no gravy).


If you like cumin, you´re going to love this dish, it uses heavy doses in its preparation. It is an ideal meal for a cold winter evening made of rice and lentils, which are cooked together along with a huge combination of spices including cumin. This is only the bottom part of this dish which is artistically topped with some crispy fried onions that make that ideal contrast of crunchy and soft, stewed, heavily spiced lentils and rice.


Historically, the Turkish cuisine has not received the attention it deserves. This phyllo dough snack can be filled with an endless variety of fillings including heavily seasoned meat, spinach with cheese and as many others as the imagination can go. These savory pastries do make a great snack but also, in larger quantities, can turn into a lunch or a dinner.


Did anyone say dessert? Well, this is a pastry that can work as a snack for some middle-of-the-night trip to the fridge or a great after-dinner delight. It features a wheat covering, an astonishing amount of pistachios and is completely drenched in treacle. As a snack or as a desert, this is an awesome sweet thing to have around.

The Left Outs

We haven´t included the most popular ones like Shawarma, tabbouleh, hummus, baklava, and falafels because that´s something anyone can buy and try almost anywhere in the world.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try these suggestions and you won´t go wrong.

Amazing Facts Everyone Must Know

There are some facts that draw attention because they are fun or because they are interesting or simply unique, the truth is they all belong to a place on Earth most people refer as distant or strange.

It is very important as globalized citizens we are to dive directly and unveil the mysticism surrounding this part of the globe known as the Middle East and North Africa.

Important Facts

1 – The most saline sea in the world is the Red Sea. This condition appears because the evaporation rate of the water is higher than other places in the world but the precipitation is very little. Since there´s almost no river inflow, the process leaves behind a 41% of saline while the world average is 35%.

2 –What will you see if you are lucky enough to visit the Sahara desert? Well, the answer is not sand, because the moving dunes are only about 21% of the surface, the rest is mainly rocks. So the landscape is as dry as it gets, but it´s also made of huge rocks.

3 – The landscape and natural boundaries of both Middle East and North Africa are not natural or geographical, they are political. Because of this, many different religious activities and political beliefs live in the same place. There are some very strict etiquette rules that should not be broken for every one of them! Anybody said cultural clash? Of course! Within the region and with outsiders.

4 – Can the desert be fertilized and grow basic vegetables in the middle of sand dunes? Of course it can, actually, the Al Khufrah Oasis in Libya, as seen in this great picture taken by NASA is a great example. The importance of irrigating water to one of the aridest places in the world is crucial for survival.

5 – Just to abolish the common belief that women are not as important as men in these regions, 70% of the students in science and engineering aren´t men, are the ladies.

6 – Arab is not a religion, it´s an ethnic group. There are Arab Christians and Arab Jews, in fact, you can be an Arab if you are descendent (bloodlines) or speak Arabic, the main Arab language. The key thing to know is that Arabs were around way before Islam was born.

Fun Facts

1 – There was a time in which Iran tried to reach the Guinness book of records by making the largest sandwich the world had ever seen. It was the year 2008 and the attempt was failed because it was so tasty that people started eating it before time and when it was measured, it was shorter. People in Iran didn´t try to do it again.

2 – There are some very strange illegal things in Iran like Mullets!

3 – In a great move, Iranians removed the waiting list for the kidney transplant using health insurance as well as financial compensation to incentivize unrelated donors.

4 – It was 2007 and the Iranian government arrested 14 squirrels. What were the charges? Spying!