To enter the city, visitors must first pass through a long, narrow chasm in the rock ‘the Siq’, it winds its way for almost a mile (1.5km) with steep inclining sides that come close to meeting 656ft (200m) above.
More than 2,000 years ago, a nomadic tribe from Arabia settled in the area and these Nabateans established Petra as their capital. It became a powerful fortress city that controlled the passage of traders, and grew prosperous from the caravans crossing their land carrying spices and riches from India and Arabia. From this wealth was created an astonishing city of monumental tombs, temples and decorative buildings carved from the solid rock, which still stands as a testament to the remarkable creativity and engineering prowess of the Nabateans.
Today's Petra is a staggering landscape of rock-carved monuments, amphitheatres, palaces, arched gateways, water channels and detailed carvings spread over a vast area. Dramatic tombs & temples unfold with each step taken further into the winding canyon, intricate facades cut into the soaring cliff faces dwarf the ubiquitous camel drivers, traders and tourists to insignificance.
Not to be outdone by Petra's stunning man-made beauty, is Wadi Rum’s other-worldly landscape. Lying 42 miles (68km) north of Aqaba, the scenery of Wadi Rum is acclaimed to be one of the most stunningly beautiful desert landscapes in the world and is a major tourist destination in Jordan. Towering mountains of weathered sandstone rise vertically from the pink desert sands where the vast emptiness and silence is breathtaking.
With the break-up of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, the League of Nations created the French Mandate of Syria and British Mandate of Palestine. Approximately 90% of the British Mandate of Palestine was east of the Jordan River and was known as "Transjordan". In 1921, the British gave semi-autonomous control of Transjordan to the future King Abdullah I of Jordan, of the Hashemite family. Abdullah I continued to rule until a Palestinian Arab assassinated him in 1951 as he was departing from the Al-Aqsa Masjid in Jerusalem. At first he ruled "Transjordan", under British supervision until after World War II. In 1946, the British requested the United Nations to approve an end to British Mandate rule in Transjordan. Following this approval, the Jordanian Parliament proclaimed King Abdullah as the first ruler of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
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