The Arab world is often defined by membership in the League of Arab States (also known as The Arab League), which consists of the 22 countries depicted on the map. Most of these countries consider Arabic their national language, although they may have substantial non-Arabic speaking populations. Attachment to the Arabic language is one of the main cultural aspects that Arab Americans share, even if they speak English fluently.

What makes a country Arab?
  • Arabic language
  • A shared history and cultural tradition
  • Membership in the League of Arab States

Audio tour: Where is the Arab world? (1 min 30 secs)

Professor Thomas Abowd of Tufts University discusses the Arab world.  



AANM’s tiled courtyard is lined with exhibits on the history, arts and scientific achievements of the Arab world in previous eras, including architecture, arts, geography, language, mathematics and astronomy, medicine, music and the three monotheistic religions.
Explore the Music section:

Music in the Arab world has a long history, with many influences from different groups and cultures. One way of experiencing the distinct sounds of traditional Arab music is by listening to an ensemble known as a takht, which may feature some of the instruments here.


Listen to the instruments separately (below) and then together (above). Can you pick out the individual instruments in the takht?

Resources for Educators 

AANM is pleased to offer free activities and resources for educators and their classrooms.

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