Petra (Jordan): Barack Obama is closing his first Mideast trip as president with a visit to Petra, Jordan`s fabled ancient city.
An unexpected sandstorm that forced Obama to change some travel plans yesterday had led him to cautiously state that the tour of Petra would happen "weather permitting."
The weather cooperated on Saturday, allowing Obama to arrive in Petra after an hour-long helicopter ride across Jordan`s rugged countryside.
Petra was carved into the rose-red stone by the Nabataeans more than 2,000 years ago. The ancient Arabs turned the city into a critical junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome.
Petra is Jordan`s most popular tourist attraction, drawing more than a half million visitors each year since 2007.