Petra

Petra is 2000 years old story of success achieved by the Arab Nabateans

In the middle of the Jordanian desert stands the city of Petra as one of most beautiful ancient cities surrounded with those beautiful colorful vertical mountains. Natural fortification by mountains and plenty of water springs gave an opportunity to Arab Nabateans to establish the exceptional city The name is Greek that means the rock, the city is a capital to the Arab Nabateans kingdom & regional trade center for more than four centuries, connected with the Mediterranean, the red sea, Yemen & Oman, Egypt, Europe, India and China through vital veins; a sophisticated network of land & marine trade routes which guaranteed wealth flow into the city that wealth was reflected on the huge monuments all over Petra, the city grown up spreading out over more than 200 square kilometer Nabateans are Bedouin Arabian tribe from the Arabian Peninsula, some of them left the peninsula around 600 B.C moving to the north looking for pastures and trade business, in the area known as Petra today they established the center of huge kingdom extended in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Sinai, the Negev desert & small parts of Syria Well known as skillful sculptors, reliable merchants, brilliant diplomats & water engineers. Those people could be forgotten like hundreds of other Arabian tribes who skillfully practiced the same things as the Nabateans except those big beautiful rock cut facades in Petra of Jordan & Alhigra in Saudi Arabia which became a Nabatean brand name, their architect was influenced by the surrounding architectural styles as result of the active commercial exchange with Petra since those people navigated the desert bringing spices & silk from India & China, they exclusively traded with incense & myrrh produced in the southern part of the Arabian peninsula, they achieved smooth and continues flow of goods through their kingdom by maintaining & securing the trade routes they also provided enough water for all trade caravans through effective & complicated water harvest systems, from Petra and for several centuries the NaThe Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, one of the Arab countries which was established in 1921 after the great Arab revolution, remained under  the British mandate until 1946, it’s area is 89,250 square kilometers, the country has borders with Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, the Palestinian territories & Israel, shares the gulf of Aqaba with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel, regime is parliamentary monarchy, the king is his majesty King Abdullah the Second, the fourth king of Jordan & the eldest son of King Hussein third king of Jordan who had an international reliability and gained the Jordanians hearts during his reign (1952 –  1999). Population is 9.5 millions most of the population are concentrated around Amman The Capital, the biggest city as well with more than 3 million inhabitants, Main Cities are Zarqa, Irbid & Aqaba the only shipping port in the country, Petra is 250 Km’s to the south of Amman, 130 km’s to the north east of Aqaba.

 

 


 

 

Nabatean rock cut facades in Petra and the Siq:

Petra ancient city is very rich with archaeology, wherever you go inside Petra you find rock cut facades, ancient buildings, aqua ducts and water cisterns beautifully combined with the natural mounts most of them were curved or built during the Nabatean golden era (100 B.C – 100 A.D) the Arab Nabateans curved more than 700 rock cut facades in Petra which were mainly used as a private burials for the upper class families, it’s still unknown why this architectural style developed, here is an illustration for the biggest four curved monuments in Petra (the treasury, the theater the, royal tombs and the monastery beside the Siq). 

 

The Siq: is a natural gorge begins several hundred meters after Petra visitors center with 1600 meters long, it was naturally formed because of water erosion over millions of years before the Nabateans before anybody else, Nabateans used this gorge as the main entrance leading to Petra city center and they decorated many spots inside this gorge with some of their symbols. complete protective system against flash floods was established in the siq too.

 

The Treasury (Al Khazneh): the most detailed facade in Petra, it face you out of a sudden while getting into the city from the Siq, 45 minutes walking from Petra visitors center, has plenty of Hellenistic architectural influence, Nabatean masterpiece curved totally out of the mountain, probably was a mausoleum for Aretas II-II (in Arabic Al Harith), the 8th known Nabatean king, it was curved around zero A.D. the monument is 2000 years old where as the name treasury “alkhazna” is less than 600 years old, it’s a local donation to the monument because of the spectacular beauty of that monument

 

The Theater: close to the treasury, just several minutes walking from the treasury, curved out of a mountain too, very big theater with more than 5 thousands spectators capacity, the theater has 45 rows of seats and they are totally cut out of the mountain, the front section of the theater has typical elements to

 

The Royal Tombs: three big facades to the right side of the kardo after the theater, beautiful location overseeing the theater and the ancient city center from high above, they were probably used as royal burials during the Nabatean Period, the most known one is the Urn tomb which was reused as a court by the Romans and it was converted into a church during the Byzantine era.

 

he Monastery: it’s one of the biggest and well preserved nabateans facades in Petra, all the ways leading to the monastery are very beautiful and the viewpoint nearby is wonderful too overseeing Wadi Arava, the monastery name was donated probably during the Byzantine period since it was used by some monks because it is isolated from the rest of the city

 

Petra today and Petra by night:

The in-habitation begun in Petra since the stone ages, a lot of lithic tools were collected and several Neolithic villages were dug out, Nabateans monuments remain the main highlight of Petra beside it’s unique location more than any other architect. More than 3000 different archaeological monuments were counted in Petra, with various sizes, functions and decorations; the majority was made by the Nabateans during their golden era between 100 B.C and 100 A.D. Several memorial inscriptions referring to burials and events, many cultic niches for idols, several temples and different residential areas were excavated, complete aqua system was traced, one big theater, streets, markets were dug out in Petra, what made this city different is the unique location and the Nabatean huge decorated rock cut facades where the city holds more than 600 of them; though the excavated portion of the archaeological content is estimated by less than 50%.
Petra became a UNICCO site (global heritage site) in 1985, and it became one of the new seven wonders in 2007, the Petra Archaeological Park was established by the authorities to follow up all the requirements of the archaeological site of Petra, especially that less than 50% was excavated so far. The ancient city receives more than million tourists every year, Petra visitors center branch of Petra archaeological park and result of the local community efforts organizes the huge numbers of people at the classical entrance of Petra opened daily by sunrise to sunset, the entrance ticket to Petra starts from 50 Jordan Dinars per day per person

 Wadi Musa the biggest town near Petra is  with more than 25 thousand inhabitants; more than 70 hotels exist in the town, so many restaurants beside several travel agents and car rentals

 The Bedouin village of Petra (Umm Sayhon) is the nearest town to the ancient city center  around 30 minutes walking, the village was established by the local authorities before 1985 A.D to fulfill the UNICCO site regulations and requirements and as an assistance to the local community, Alamareen village in little Petra beautiful location and suitable for those who prefer hiking tours and exploring the hidden sides of Petra, several local camps catering accommodation are located near the villages

Petra by night tour into the ancient city is organized 3 times a week each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evening, Petra by night tour begins from Petra visitors center 8:20 pm all the way down to the treasury penetrating the narrow gorge (the Siq) while full with candles until around 10:30 pm then visitors return back