A geographical and historical term that refers to a region of southwestern Asia.

The region does not have definite boundaries, but the term is used to refer to an area that stretches from Turkey in the west to Iran in the east (some view it as reaching the Indus River in modern-day Pakistan); it extends from the Caucasus region in the north to the Arabian Peninsula in the south, often also including Egypt. Some call this region the Middle East, whereas others prefer Western Asia. The expression “Near East” refers to the region’s proximity to Europe.