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Passport: Jordan

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Jordan is a country in the Middle-east that became an independent state in 1946. More than half of it is covered by the Arabian desert. Though small and lacking in natural resources, it’s location in the center of what most religions consider the Holy Land lends it strategic value.

Check out the slideshow below for a look at Petra, an ancient city that is the country’s most popular tourist attraction.

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Petra is a half-carved city situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea.

Once the capital city of the Nabateans, it was an important crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia.

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One of the world's most famous archaeological sites, it was "re-discovered" in 1812, 200 years ago, by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt.

It was built more than 2500 years ago and one of its most remarkable features is an extensive water system that allowed the founders to control and maintain and regular supply of water in the desert.

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After more than 2000 years, the city began to decline while under Roman rule around 300 A.D.

It remained a center of religious, if not commercial, activity before a series of disasters, including at least one major earthquake, damaged the water management system.

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Carved out of sandstone, archaeologists have discovered all of the usual parts of a city in various areas of the site. Highlights include a theater, Tomb of Kings, crypts, the Treasury and the Deir (monastery).

Most are open to tourists for exploration, though in recent years more of an effort has been made to protect and preserve the site.

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Petra is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and is considered one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

It has also played a role in many poems, books and films -- including Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

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How much do you know about this ancient carved city?

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