I knew as soon as I booked a trip to Israel that I wanted to find a way to get to Petra, Jordan, too.
Years ago, I'd seen the city, carved into rocks, in a photo in a magazine. It immediately went on the travel to-do list. Since visiting, I think a fair amount about Petra, the "Pink City."
It feels mysterious and unknowable. But it was astounding, nevertheless, to walk down the main "street," in the place that was home to the nomadic Nabataeans, who began settling in the Petra Valley in the 4th century, B.C.E.
What remains for visitors now are tombs and mausoleums, remains of a colonnaded street and ruins of temples, altars and rocks and more rocks, variegated in color with reds, oranges, and browns striated with black.
I like how the Jordan Tourism Board puts it: "The giant red mountains and vast mausoleums of a departed race have nothing in common with modern civilization, and ask nothing of it except to be appreciated at their true value - as one of the greatest wonders ever wrought by Nature and Man."
Having never heard of the Nabataeans until shortly before my visit, I did just that: appreciated a great wonder for what it was. Beautiful, unique, special. Not simple to get to but worth it.