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“With the rise of Palmyra in Syria and sea-trading routes, the death knell was sounded for Petra, ancient capital of the Nabateans,” say the Geographic Expeditions experts. “By the Arab invasion of the 7th century AD, Petra was a forgotten city and remained so until it was rediscovered in 1812 by the young Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt.” Today the elegant site, which dates back to 1200 B.C., is known as the “Pink City” because of the rose-hued sandstone used to create the phenomenal palaces and tombs. It’s perhaps most stunning at dusk, when the ancient city is aglow with thousands of candles.

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