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Petra Jordan

Petra is an ancient city in the south of Jordan which served as the capital of the Nabataean kingdom in the 6th century BC. The kingdom was absorbed into the Roman Empire in AD 106 and the Romans continued to expand the city. An important center for trade and commerce, Petra continued to flourish until a catastrophic earthquake destroyed buildings and crippled vital water management systems around AD 663. After the conquest of the Middle East in 1189 b Saladin, Petra was abandoned and the memory of it was lost to the West. The ruins remained hidden to most of the world until the Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, disguised as an Arab scholar, infiltrated the Bedouin-occupied city in 1812. The accounts of his travels inspired other Western explorers and historians to discover the ancient city further. The first real excavations of the site were in 1929. Since that time, Petra has become the largest tourist attraction in Jordan, partially due to the exposure by the Steven Spielberg movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Due to its breathtaking grandeur and fabulous ruins, Petra was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985 and was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007

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