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.
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