City of rock

2012-04-13 13:05

According to Arab tradition, it is where Moses struck his staff to find water and where his brother, Aaron, is buried.

It is the ancient rose-red city of Petra in Jordan, which dates back to the 6th century BC and which was hewn out of the sandstone rocks.

The striking city’s founders had a big secret. They found a way to control water and so create an oasis in the desert on the trade routes to Gaza in one direction, to Damascus in another, and to Aqaba and the Persian Gulf.

The city lost its strategic importance during Roman rule when sea routes began to replace traditional caravans, but its value as a tourist attraction has never waned, which ironically is a threat to its very survival.

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