The City of Petra
Petra, Jordan is one of the most spectacular historical and archaeological sites and the main attraction for tourists in Jordan. The Petra is located on the slope of Mount Hor between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. The city is also known as the Rose City which it got from the color of the rock it’s carved in.
Some Important Facts About Petra
The place got its name from a Greek word “Petros” meaning “rocks”. It is most commonly known as Petra and its other name is ‘Al-Batra’ in Arabic.
The site represents how the ancient Arab culture and architecture had flourished since the 5th century.
Petra’s Importance in Trade
The Petra valley is located on the Silk Route which was a famous trade route in the past that served as a link between the Egypt, Rome, Greece and Syria with China, Arabia, and India. The Petra at Silk Route eventually became a major part of trading items and resting for traders as it provided great economic value, which attracted treasures and valuable antiques.
Petra was made by the Nabataeans, an ancient tribe of southern Arab people, which arrived in the Jordan in 3rd century BC. They made the city of Petra at a trade route between the southern Asia and the Greece. Petra soon started loosing its image among the traders after the use of the sea as a trade route rather than land. The half of the city of Petra got destroyed in earthquakes which eventually led to the evacuation of the city in 6th century AD.
The Silk Route was used for trading mainly because of the city of Petra, which had an abundant source of water in the middle of a desert. Because of its water conduit system, the people managed to grow some lush green gardens and made it look like an Oasis, and have water sufficient for more than 25,000 people.
Discovery of Petra
In 1812, it was re-discovered by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt and he introduced it to the world. In 1985, it got a place in UNESCO World Heritage Site, later in 2007 it became one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World” as per the internet poll.
The building is half man-made and half carved into the rocks, and it also had a water channel system which became the reason the city got even more famous. Over the centuries, the structure of Petra has been affected by the salt blowing from the Dead Sea, which is solidifying the pores in the sandstone and damaging the structural integrity of the monument.
Some European studies suggested that the Nabataeans built the city in order to track the astronomical position of the Sun.
Petra Jordan Tour
In order to make their way to the entrance of Petra, an individual must pass through a slim canyon of about 1 km. The city is bound by the tall cliffs called Al-Siq, which stretches over 80 km.
Petra is a city which consists of various monuments, tombs, and sacred structures being carved into the red rock cliffs. With more than 800 tombs carved in the city which are known as “Royal Tombs”.
The city of Petra has become the top tourist place in Jordan, especially after it’s been named as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and therefore provide a variety of souvenir for the visitors to buy from the shop. The shop contains authentic Jordanians and Nabataeans souvenirs. It also has various other items such as silverware, stone carvings, and pottery.
Petra also provides a night tour for the tourists, where you can enjoy the beauty of this ancient monument illuminated with thousands of candles.
Al-Khazneh which means the ‘treasury’ is a must-see in Petra. One can see marks of gunshots on the facade of the treasury, which is believed to be shot in an attempt to find the treasure.
The city of Petra was very famous among the traders and thus contained a lot of treasures and trade items. But due to its structural weakening as an effect of salt blowing from the Dead Sea, its treasure has been stolen and got lost over the years.
Petra’s Interesting Facts for Kids
The city of Petra was made in 3 periods and under three civilizations: the Edomites from 18th-2nd century BC; the Nabataeans from 2nd century BC to 106 BC; and the Romans 106-395 BC.
Nearly half of the city was destroyed in a series of earthquakes that occurred in May 360 A.D. After the earthquakes the water conduit system was highly damaged.
A marble pulpit from a Byzantine church dating back to 6 A.D. represents the importance city of Petra had in Christianity.
Petra was colonized by Muslims in the 7th century and then later in the 12th century it was captured by Crusaders.
The Petra became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985, because of its historical importance and amazing architecture.
There is a poem called “A rose-red city half as old as time” made on Petra by the John William Burgon, for which he won Newdigate Prize.
The city of Petra site has been featured in several films such as Arabian Nights, Mortal Kombat, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Archeologists have only explored the 15% of Petra till the date. The rest of the history and remains are yet to be explored.
More than 25 sites of Petra can be viewed on Google Street View. In 2016, archaeologists discovered a new monumental structure previously unknown as it was buried under the sand.