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Obama Tours Ancient City of Petra

Amman, Mar 23 (Petra) – U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday visited the ancient city of Petra and toured the landmarks and monuments of the red rose city and world wonder.

Obama, wrapping up a two-day visit to Jordan, was welcomed at Petra by tourism minister Nayef al Fayez and the president and administrators of the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority PDTRA.

The president was escorted through the city's main entrance or the Siq, a narrow one-mile cleft leading to the city, and then stopped at the treasury and the Nabataean amphitheater, where he was briefed by an archaeologist on the city's history and role of its builders, the Nabataean Arabs, who carved it in the rock over two millennia ago.

Obama was told about Petra's status as a prominent regional and international tourist destination that had been voted as one of the seven wonders of the world.

The president, who stopped at a souvenir shop and picked some gifts, said he was keen to come to the city as a tourist at the end of his tour in the region to send a message to the world that Petra is worth visiting and seeing, noting the security and stability Jordan enjoys.

Fayez told Petra News Agency that Obama's visit in the present political conditions in the region is of paramount importance for the ancient city and tourism in the country in general as it bolsters its status on the world tourism map.

He said his ministry viewed the president's visit with utmost interest and is of great help to the promotion efforts by concerned authorities marketing Petra and the Kingdom's tourist attractions in the world.

PDTRA President Mohammad Abul Ghanam, who presented Obama with a replica of the red rose city, thanked him for the visit, noting American support, through USAID, the U.S. embassy and NGOs, of projects in the area, including the Petra archaeological reserve.

Petra News Agency
March 23, 2013