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The spectacular stone monuments of Petra, Jordan

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“This is Petra, where the sheer improbability of its location is the secret of its spectacular flourishing. The reason why this tomb endured and survived armies and earthquakes is that the Nabataeans who built it cut it into the sandstone surface of the mountain rather than build some freestanding marble monument. The mountains shook with earthquakes but these buildings stood intact.”

Explore incredible villas, mosaics, rain harvesting systems, and hints of a green city in the desert. Built in the 5th century BCE, the city of Raqmu, now known as Petra in southern Jordan, was a cosmopolitan, paradise-like metropolis that was three times the size of Manhattan and home to more than 250,000 Nabataeans and nomads from all different backgrounds. This BBC clip from Civilisations provides an introduction to this once-thriving desert capital.

Petra was designated a World Heritage Site in 1985. Explore the ancient rose-rock structures with this interactive tour on Google Street View.

Next, visit the 1,000 year old windmills of Nashtifan.

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