|The Middle East was home to the world's most ancient civilizations: The Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Assyrians, Persians, and Romans. Each of these civilizations left its own distinct mark on the Middle East. The Holy Land of Israel includes many of the sites that are sacred to three of the world's major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In addition, millions of Muslims perform the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia each year. In contrast, Bahrain, Dubai, and the United Arab Emirates are popular for secular activities like shopping, scuba diving, and horse racing.