The countries that comprise the Levant are Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. Areas of southern Turkey are also considered part of the Levant. The definition of the Levant and the lands does not have a consistent meaning and varies over time and by source.
The earliest use of the term Levant occurred in English in 1497 to describe land along Mediterranean Sea and to the east of Italy. According to some definitions, it comprises the land south of the Taurus Mountains, west of the Zagros Mountains and north of the Sinai Peninsula.
As of 2014, the term is typically used to describe historical events and geography, rather than as a specific term to describe current-day geographical locations. For example, the term may be used to refer to the area containing the Near East, the location of the biblical twelve tribes of Canaan and the area controlled by the ancient empires of Persia, Babylon and Assyria.
The countries included in the term Levant share cultural, religious and linguistic traits. Large cities located in the Levant include the Syrian cities of Aleppo, Homs and Damascus, the Lebanese cities of Beirut and Tripoli, the Jordanian cities of Amman and Zarqua, the Israeli cities of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and the Palestinian Gaza City.