Google Street View has expanded to Jordan, home to some of the world's oldest and most breathtaking ancient ruins. As of today, Street View users can explore 30 historical sites across Jordan, including the 2,000-year-old city of Petra, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Google says it selected the sites in consultation with Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, who also narrated a video about Petra released today. Located just south of Amman, Petra was built by the Nabateans as early as 312 BC, but was hidden from the Western world until the early 1800s. Part of the city was carved out of the region's rugged, pink-and-white mountainside, earning it the nickname "Rose City."
It takes about an hour's walk through the mountains to arrive at its most famous landmark, Al Khazanah (the treasury), which featured prominently in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Today, Petra sees around 2,500 tourists every day, which has posed threats to its preservation, though tourism across Jordan has dwindled in recent years due to ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
Today's launch marks the fifth and largest Street View project that Google has launched in the Arab world, following initiatives at the Pyramids of Giza and the Burj Khalifa. The company has expanded its Street View tool to other ancient sites in the past, including the temples of Angkor in Cambodia, the ruins of Pompeii, and Mayan ruins in Mexico.