Obama ends Mideast trip as tourist
By The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, March 23, 2013, 5:57 p.m.
PETRA, Jordan — President Obama set aside the Middle East's tricky politics on Saturday to marvel at one of the region's most stunning sites, the ancient city of Petra.
“This is pretty spectacular,” he said, craning his neck to gaze up at the rock faces after emerging from a narrow pathway into a sun-splashed plaza in front of the grand Treasury. The soaring facade is considered the masterpiece of the ancient city carved into the rose-red stone by the Nabataeans more than 2,000 years ago.
Obama's turn as tourist capped a four-day visit to the Middle East that included stops in Israel and the West Bank, as well as Jordan.
The White House set low policy expectations for the trip, and the president was returning to Washington with few tangible achievements.
Aides said his intention instead was to reassure the region's politicians and people — particularly in Israel — that he is committed to their security and prosperity.
Curious residents and picture-taking tourists lined the streets of modern Petra as Obama's motorcade wound toward the entrance to the ancient city. The president, dressed in khaki pants, a black jacket and hiking boots, began his walking tour at the entrance to the Siq, a narrow, winding gorge cutting between two soaring cliffs.
The path opened into a dusty plaza with the colossal columned Treasury as its centerpiece. Obama declared the carved monument is “amazing.”
The Bedouins named the building the Treasury because they believed that urns sculpted on top of it contained great treasures. In reality, the urns represented a memorial for Nabataean royalty.
Over time, historians have disagreed on the Treasury's purpose. However, a recent excavation proved that a graveyard exists underneath it.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- China-bound Malaysian jet vanishes with 239 aboard
- Statue of Egypt pharoanic princess found in Luxor
- China defends burgeoning military
- Russians adamant about vote
- Dutch pot problems spill into its streets
- Malaysia loses contact with plane carrying 239; 4 from U.S. aboard
- Al-Qaida’s grip transforms, terrorizes eastern Syrian city
- History may turn on a shilling
- Malaysia Airlines plane with 239 aboard feared lost
- 34 fatally slashed, 130 injured in rampage at Chinese rail station
- Al-Qaida kills one of own for spying, flaunts body