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Aqaba (Petra), Jordan

From Jordan's port on the Red Sea, you can travel, first by motorcoach and then for a short distance by horseback, to the hidden city of Petra. At first it looks like a mirage; rugged sandstone hills seem to melt into windows and doorways, columns and gargoyles. But this is not a figment of the desert heat: all the buildings of Petra, except one, were elaborately carved into the rock hills by a nomadic Arabian tribe in the 6th century B.C. It is a remarkable sight. You can also visit Wadi Rum, where Bedouin families set black goat-hair tents at the base of massive, striated "jebels," the sheer-faced hills of the region.