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Petra is an ancient city in southern Jordan. It was created by the Nabateans. Exact dating of the site is difficult but it is thought to have been in use from the 6th century BC until 363 AD when an earthquake destroyed the water supply. It was famously described as "a rose-red city half as old as time" in a sonnet by John William Burgon. The unique feature of Petra is that most of the buildings are carved into the red sandstone cliffs rather than being free-standing.

Petra was an important stopping point on the ancient caravan routes but started to experience a decline in Roman times with the rise of sea-transport.