Eilat (Petra), Israel
At the narrow upper end of the Gulf of Aqaba, the Israeli sea resort of Eilat sits within plain view of the whitewashed buildings of Aqaba across the water. From the gulf coast, the Jordanian King’s Highway ascends past Wadi Rum, where Lawrence bivouacked his Bedouin cavalry, to the narrow, twisting defile that leads through the cliffs to Petra.
Once a powerful Nabatean trading capital along the caravan route, the city, with its monumental facades carved from the solid, rose-tinted rock of the mountains, declined after its Roman conquest and was forgotten by the Western world for centuries until a Swiss explorer rediscovered it. Today it is one of the world’s most attractive ancient wonders, a place many travelers aspire to visit, marvel to see, and never forget.