Obama turns tourist as Middle East trip ends

President Barack Obama stops to gaze at the Treasury in Petra.
President Barack Obama stops to gaze at the Treasury in Petra. Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing

President Barack Obama set aside the Middle East's tricky politics today to marvel at the beauty of the ancient archaeological city of Petra.

"This is pretty spectacular," Obama said as he gazed up at the rock faces.

As news emerged that the US Senate had passed its first Budget plan in four years, the President was surveying a Treasury hewn out of stone more than 2,000 years ago

President Barack Obama is dwarfed as he visits Jordan's ancient city of Petra.
President Barack Obama is dwarfed as he visits Jordan's ancient city of Petra. Credit: AA/ABACA/Press Association Images

He was accompanied by at least five members of his personal protection team who surveyed the route ahead of him.

His time as a tourist capped a four-day visit to the Middle East that included stops in Israel and the West Bank, as well as Jordan.

Residents and well-wishers lined the streets of modern Petra as Obama's motorcade wound toward the entrance to the ancient city.

The President departed Jordan after the tour and was due back in Washington later today.