Facts about Petra

26 facts about Petra

The mysterious city of tombs

Petra is an amazing, old necropolis carved into the rock in ancient times. A narrow ravine, which can only be crossed on foot or on the back of an animal, leads to an open space, full of ancient templates. After exiting a narrow passage, a rock-cut, Nabataean temple of Al-Khazneh, the most recognizable Petra relic, emerges. Petra is one of the greatest Jordanian tourist attractions, alluring many visitors every year.
Petra is located within the territory of Kingdom of Jordan.
It is situated to the east of the great valley connecting the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba, 190 km (118 mi) southwest of Amman.
It is a residue of the ancient Nabataean kingdom's capital that flourished between the 3rd century BC and 1st century AD.

The Nabataeans were an ancient Arab people of herding origin. They came from northwestern Arabia, and since the 5th century BC, continuously extended their rule northward. During six centuries of prosperity, Nabataeans spread their influence up to Damascus.

This civilization carved their city in rocks, developed own architectural style, unique, delicate ceramics, and the water engineering system crucial to Petra's prosperity. They were people with great ambitions, drawing what was best from other cultures.

Petra lies at the crossroads of trade routes from India to Egypt and southern Arabia to Syria.
The location made Petra an important communication and commercial hub in the region. The Nabataeans supplied the caravans with water and other necessary travel supplies, conducted trade, and collected merchant fees for services and passage. The city's safe location among the rocks was also an important factor for further city development.
Petra was built on a previous, Edomite settlement.
Edom means "red", and it's the biblical name for the Middle East ancient kingdom.
In 106 AD, Petra became a part of the Roman province of Arabia Petrea.
Even though the Nabatean dynasty fell, the local population coexisted peacefully with the Romans for over a century.
In Petra's bloom, about 20,000 people lived in the city.
In the 4th century, Petra was incorporated into the Byzantine Empire.
One of the largest Nabatean tombs was transformed into a church, and the city itself became the bishopric seat.
In the Middle Ages, Petra was occupied by the Crusaders, who built two citadels there.
The conquest and occupation of the city by Saladin destroyed Petra, which fell into ruin.
Petra never recovered from the Egyptian occupation, and subsequent earthquakes sealed its fate.
The city was discovered by Western civilization in 1812 thanks to the Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt.
Arab and Western scholars have identified more than 800 historic sites in the area of Petra. Most of them have been carved into the red walls of the bluffs.