Renaissance Tomb, Petra, Jordan (Photodisc/Andrea Pistolesi)

The monastary at Petra, Jordan (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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What to do in Petra

Tucked away in the desert of southern Jordan, ancient Petra is an architectural marvel of intricately carved sandstone temples, tombs, and a first-century monastery. The Nabataean people settled the city more than 2,000 years ago, and Petra remained unknown to westerners until Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt came upon it in 1812. It was named as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, and today it’s Jordan’s most visited tourist attraction. Petra is part of a larger archaeological park covering more than 65 acres (with good hiking and plenty of Bedouin jewelry for sale), but visitors to the actual city arrive through the Siq, a narrow gorge no more than ten feet wide in parts. It leads to the elaborate Al Khazneh, “The Treasury,” featured as the final resting place of the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade .

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