PETRA … More Than A Wonder
The city of Petra, capital of the Nabataean Arabs, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, it is Located 240 km south of the capital Amman and 120 km north of the red sea town of Aqaba (see the Map), Petra the world wonder is undoubtedly Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction, and it is visited by tourists from all over the world.
It is not known precisely when Petra was built, but the city began to prosper as the capital of the Nabataean Empire from the 1st century BC, which grew rich through trade in frankincense, myrrh, and spices.
Petra was later annexed to the Roman Empire and continued to thrive until a large earthquake in 363 AD destroyed much of the city in the 4th century AD.
The earthquake combined with changes in trade routes, eventually led to the downfall of the city which was ultimately abandoned.
By the middle of the 7th century Petra appears to have been largely deserted and it was then lost to all except local Bedouin from the area.
In 1812 a Swiss explorer named Johannes Burckhardt set out to ‘rediscover’ Petra; he dressed up as an Arab and convinced his Bedouin guide to take him to the lost city, After this, Petra became increasingly known in the West as a fascinating and beautiful ancient city, and it began attracting visitors and continues to do so today.
Petra is also known as the rose-red city, a name it gets from the wonderful colour of the rock from which many of the city’s structures were carved.
The Nabataeans buried their dead in intricate tombs that were cut out of the mountain sides and the city also had temples, a theater, and following the Roman annexation and later the Byzantine influence, a colonnaded street and churches.
In addition to the magnificent remains of the Nabataean city, human settlement and land use for over 10,000 years can be traced in Petra, where great natural, cultural, archaeological and geological features merge.
On December 6, 1985, Petra was designated a World Heritage Site,, also Petra was chosen by the Smithsonian Magazine as one of the 28 places you should visit them before you die.