Al Khazneh seen from the Siq | Petra, Jordan (West Asia)
This is Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled there more than 2000 years ago. For much of its history, Petra was an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome. Entrance to the city is through the Siq, a narrow gorge, over 1 km (0.6 mi) in length, which is flanked on either side by soaring, 80 m (262 ft) high cliffs. Just walking through the Siq is an experience in itself. The colours and formations of the rocks are dazzling. As you reach the end of the Siq you will catch your first glimpse of Al-Khazneh ("The Treasury").