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Top 10 Capitals of Islamic Culture: From Kuala Lumpur & Singapore to Jakarta & Dhaka


Discover more about 10 of Islamic culture which made a great contribution to the Islamic world and beyond.



Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is a majestic combination of the mysterious, spiritual East, and pragmatic, technology-driven West. Skyscrapers made almost entirely out of glass and concrete stand side by side with ancient temples. Kuala Lumpur is the second most developed city in Asia, right after Singapore. It’s known to be the “green and clean” capital of Asia, so don’t even think about littering on the streets! Unless you want to say goodbye to all of your money.



Jakarta is actually a province, not just a single city, but it still has all the authorities of a capital city. It’s the most densely populated city in South-Eastern Asia, with 10 million people living there. Sometimes people call Jakarta “Big Durian”, similarly to New York’s “Big Apple” title.

Singapore may be the most expensive city in Southeastern Asia but it has been ranked as one of the best places to live in Asia with a very high quality of life measurement. It’s clean and safe. You won’t meet stray dogs, beggars, just as the policeman on the streets of Singapore. And no graffiti!



Dhaka is one of the most populated capitals in the world. It has a population density of 28,410/km2. Maybe that’s why it’s also one of the dirtiest cities in the world. Traffic is total chaos, so be careful on the roads!

About 40 years ago the territory of UAE, including Dubai, was 99% desert. Today it’s one of the richest countries in the world! Just like most of the Muslim countries, UAE has a lot of prohibitions regarding drinking and carrying alcohol, taking photos of government buildings, and even women. We’ve already covered Dubai, so feel free to check it out.



Tehran is the capital of Iran. You probably knew that already. Ancient Persia – is a land shrouded in magic of the East. Ancient, mysterious, with flying carpets and genies. The situation with women is really weird from the point of view of a Westerner: pretty much every woman wears a handkerchief at the nape. Iranian women are amazingly beautiful, that’s why buses in Tehran are divided into male and female. Yes, buses. And there’s even a female taxi service!

Qatar – a typical Middle-Eastern oil-producing country. It may be small, but it sure ain’t poor. Outside Doha, Quatar’s capital, you won’t find anything fun to do, so, basically Qatar = Doha. Luckily, Doha is one of the safest Arab capitals. Maybe that’s because of the American military base nearby, which would also explain why anyone can enjoy Qatar without knowing Arabic, as almost everyone speaks English.



Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, is one of the most ancient cities in the world. According to legend, the city was founded by one of Noah’s sons, Shem. Back in the XVI century people built 8-storey houses here. Yemen – the poorest country of the Arabian Peninsula. The country is rich in oil, but because of the volatile political situation in the country, the production capacity has dropped drastically. Currently, the country is in a state of civil war.

Nowadays Istanbul is like a bridge between the Muslim and European foundations. Culture and traditions are so mixed, you can see contrasts at every turn! For example, one moment you see Muslim women wearing headscarves and veils, the next – completely liberated European ladies in bikini and short shorts. Istanbul is often called the “city of cats”. There are literally millions of furry felines here and the people love them dearly. They often stop and ask a random cat, how he was doing. Speaking of cool things, in 2012 the streets of Istanbul were used in a Hollywood blockbuster – Skyfall.



Since the ancient times Baghdad has been a link connecting the Eastern and Western cultures. It once was one and the most beautiful cities in the world. When you visit this beautiful capital, you could plunge into the atmosphere of the oriental tales and for a split second feel like an all-powerful sultan. Baghdad has also been known to be a haven for true connoisseurs of fine food, but today it’s engulfed in war, and almost completely demolished by bombing squads.