Petra – The Rose City

by Steve
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A picture of the Treasury in Petra, Jordan.

Petra, is one of the “new” Seven Wonders of the World.  It is known as the Rose City because of the color of the stone from which the city was carved.

Petra - The Street of the Facades

The Street of the Facades


Petra is an ancient historical and archaeological city located in Southern Jordan.  It flourished during the Nabataean empire in the first century BC until it was conquered by the Romans in 106 AD.  The Nabataeans were one of many different Bedouin tribes that roamed the Arabian Desert.

This ancient city was not known to the world until 1812 when it was discovered by a Swiss explorer.  He dressed as an Arab and convinced his Bedouin guide to take him there.  The explorer was putting himself in great danger because the Bedouins had protected the site for centuries.  This discovery led to a great interest in the city with archaeologists as well as thieves.

A Visit to Petra

Petra is Jordan’s most visited tourist attraction and has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985.  A visit to the site, after leaving the Visitors Center, starts with a walk down a path past a couple of the hundreds of  monuments in the area.

Petra - Walkway leading to the Siq

Walkway leading to the Siq

From there it was a walk through the Siq, a canyon of approximately 1.2 kilometers long.  The narrow, vertical walls of the Siq serve as a grand entrance as it snakes its way into the ancient city.

Petra - Wide part of the Siq

Wide part of the Siq

Petra - Narrow part of the Siq

Narrow part of the Siq

When entering Petra, the first monument one sees is the Treasury which is the featured image for today’s post.  If you’ve watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, you’ve seen this building before.  Each of the monuments are carved into the red sandstone and called facades.  Since the Treasury is a highlight of visiting Petra, there is much going on in the area in front of it…..shops, camel rides and donkey rides just to name a few.

Petra - Square in front of the Treasury

Square in front of the Treasury

One of the main reasons for the Nabataeans building Petra was to honor the dead.  Therefore, out of the 800 different monuments in Petra, 500 of them are tombs.

One of the most prominent is what is called the Royal Tombs and the most popular of those four tombs is the Urn Tomb because of the urn which is on its pediment.  It also has a large open terrace in front where visitors can walk to get a closer view of this very interesting tomb.


Petra - The Urn Tomb of the Royal Tombs

The Urn Tomb of the Royal Tombs

So why do we not see homes in all of these sites?  Most likely because the Nabataeans were nomadic people moving throughout the desert and living in tents.

My travels have taken me to many archaeological sites where buildings were built, not carved.  These carvings are incredible.  As Sharon said sitting in front of the Treasury, “I could sit here for hours and enjoy the view”.  Petra is definitely a wonder of the world!!

It’s a nice place to end 2017 and begin 2018.  Happy New Year to everyone from the Rose City of Petra, Jordan.

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