Petra dates back about two thousand years, when Nabataean Arabs carved the city out of sandstone. Does Petra’s Treasury façade look familiar to your kids? That’s because it was used in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Just 160 miles (257 kilometers) to the north of Petra is Amman, Jordan’s capital, with its narrow streets and outdoor restaurants.
From the top of Amman’s Citadel Hill, look out over the city’s slopes dotted with white houses. The Temple of Hercules—with its massive Roman columns—and the Umayyad Palace are must-sees. At the foot of the hill, a Roman theater—with a 6,000-person capacity—is carved into the side. Today, it is used for performances, as it was a thousand years ago. Back in the city center, head to Al-Hashemi Street and bargain with the street vendors.
Check in at Petra Palace hotel, which is located less than 1,000 feet (305 meters) from the historic area. The hotel comes with an outdoor pool, perfect after a dusty day.
For hotel options in Amman and Petra, visit www.visitjordan.com.
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See National Geographic's guide to Jordan.
Based on articles from National Geographic Traveler and compiled by Stephanie Robichaux