Established possibly as early as 312 BC as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan, as well as its most-visited tourist attraction. It lies on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra has been a UNESCOWorld Heritage Site since 1985.
The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was introduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. It was described as "a rose-red city half as old as time" in a Newdigate Prize-winning poem by John William Burgon. UNESCO has described it as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage". See: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. Petra was chosen by the Smithsonian Magazine as one of the "28 Places to See Before You Die."
Jordan (pron.: /ˈdʒɔrdən/; Arabic: اَلأُرْدُنّ Al-ʾUrdunn), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Arabic: اَلمَمْلَكَة اَلأُرْدُنِيَّة اَلهَاشِمِيَّة al-Mamlakah al-ʾUrdunniyyah al-Hāšimiyyah), is an Arab kingdom in the Middle East, on the East Bank of the River Jordan, and extending into the historic region of Palestine. Jordan borders Saudi Arabia to the south and east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and Israel to the west, sharing control of the Dead Sea with the latter.