First, Iran as you've never seen it before. Enjoy this rich photo essay of the most misunderstood country in the world. It's a fantastic view of the Iranian world from the inside. Elegant Mosques, beautiful scenery, and a very unique culture are highlighted with a trained eye.
Second, a nice photo essay below from National Geographic from 1953 of a visit to Mecca for a religious pilgrimage. The images show a stunning view of the Middle Eastern World on many levels from a more innocent time.