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You can tour the lost stone city of Petra without ever leaving your chair

Why it matters to you

Google's virtual tour of Petra is the latest in the company's attempt to bring culture and history to the masses.

The concrete jungle has nothing on the stone city of Petra.

Thanks to Google’s newest 360-degree experience for Google Cardboard, you can take a trip through Petra and more than 30 historical sites across Jordan. It’s an expansion of a project that Google first launched in 2016, whereupon it broadened its Street View tool to give users a virtual tour of the Rose City. But now, thanks to the addition of virtual reality, it’s more immersive than ever.

Using 360-degree mapping, aerial imagery, and millions of photos that the team stitched together, Google has made it possible for us to virtually explore six of Petra’s most famous panoramas. Complete with audio narration, interactive hotspots, and sound effects, Google is hoping to bring the desert straight to you. There is no need to book a plane ticket or even make your way to a museum — rather, from the comfort of your own home, you will be able to explore a 2,000-year-old civilization.

History buffs can check out the Treasury, Petra’s most famous landmark, and see all of it in 360-degree detail. Or, you can see the eight-meter tall doorway of Al Deir or the famous Monastery of Petra. “Of course, nothing can compare to visiting Petra in real life,” the Google team admitted, “But now anyone with an internet connection can trek this remarkable UNESCO Heritage Site like never before — and we hope this 360-degree experience inspires a new generation of tourists to come to visit the rose-red city for themselves.”

This is by no means the first time the tech giant has attempted to make faraway lands and cultural institutions more accessible to the masses. Google Arts & Culture has been working on putting together similar tours for years and has offered in-depth looks at some of the world’s most sought-after tourist destinations, from the Statue of Liberty to Robben Island.

So if you’re looking to take a mini-vacation without ever leaving your desk, you can start with Petra on your mobile phone at g.co/PetraVR.