Petra Jordan a Magical Wonder

June 27, 2018
Petra Jordan

Petra Jordan A Magical Wonder

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The Icon of The Rose City

The city of Petra, capital of the Nabataean Arabs, is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, it is Located 240 km south of the capital Amman and 120 km north of the red sea town of Aqaba (see the Map), Petra the world wonder is undoubtedly Jordan’s most valuable treasure and greatest tourist attraction, and it is visited by tourists from all over the world.  It is not known precisely when Petra was built, but the city began to prosper as the capital of the Nabataean Empire from the 1st century BC, which grew rich through trade in frankincense, myrrh, and spices.  Petra was later annexed to the Roman Empire and continued to thrive until a large earthquake in 363 AD destroyed much of the city in the 4th century AD.  The earthquake combined with changes in trade routes, eventually led to the downfall of the city which was ultimately abandoned.  By the middle of the 7th century Petra appears to have been largely deserted and it was then lost to all except local Bedouin from the area.

In 1812 a Swiss explorer named Johannes Burckhardt set out to ‘rediscover’ Petra; he dressed up as an Arab and convinced his Bedouin guide to take him to the lost city, After this, Petra became increasingly known in the West as a fascinating and beautiful ancient city, and it began attracting visitors and continues to do so today.  Petra is also known as the rose-red city, a name it gets from the wonderful colour of the rock from which many of the city’s structures were carved.  The Nabataeans buried their dead in intricate tombs that were cut out of the mountain sides and the city also had temples, a theater, and following the Roman annexation and later the Byzantine influence, a colonnaded street and churches.  In addition to the magnificent remains of the Nabataean city, human settlement and land use for over 10,000 years can be traced in Petra, where great natural, cultural, archaeological and geological features merge.

On December 6, 1985, Petra was designated a World Heritage Site,, also Petra was chosen by the Smithsonian Magazine as one of the 28 places you should visit them before you die.Petra is a famous archaeological site in Jordan’s southwestern desert. Dating to around 300 B.C., it was the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom. Accessed via a narrow canyon called Al Siq, it contains tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs, earning its nickname, the “Rose City.” Perhaps its most famous structure is 45m-high Al Khazneh, a temple with an ornate, Greek-style facade, and known as The Treasury.

Discover Petra Jordan at FlightGurus.com
Discover Petra Jordan at FlightGurus.com
Discover Petra Jordan at FlightGurus.com

One of The 7 Wonders

Renowned for its charm and ancient cultural heritage, Petra marks the achievement of an impressive civilization, the Nabataean Arabs, who perfectly carved the city into its mountains. It was considered the most important strategic location as a link and point of convergence between the Arabian Peninsula to the south and the Levant in the north, to the far country of China and to the heart of Europe. The Siq is the main road that lies between the city’s rose colored mountains, which stand at a height of 80m and reach up to 1.2 Km at the end of the Siq. When sightseeing, visitors will be astounded by the sight of the Treasury, which represents the masterpiece of the ancient city with a height of up to 45m and width of 30m, all of which is carved into the mountain.
The city dates back to the first century AD and its design reflects the advance of the Nabataean civilization. On July 7, 2007 Petra was announced as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and has become the perfect and best tourist destination for many leaders and celebrities around the world.

The Nabataeans, an Arab tribe, first appeared in the sixth century BC in the desert located to the east of Jordan, and came from the south-east of the Arabian Peninsula. They settled first in Petra and subsequently expanded their territory to the Horan and Levant and finally announced Bosra as their capital.  According to historical records, they are descendants of (Bnayut) the son of Ismail bin Ibrahim. Ismail had twelve boys who formed a tribe, most of whom were located in Najad. The father of the Nabataeans remained at Mount Shammar but was forced to run from the Ashurbanipal to Wadi Araba between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba.

During the fourth century BC the Nabataeans lived as nomads in tents, spoke Arabic, loathed wine and did not have any interest in agriculture, but by the second century, they developed into an organized society.  The Greek historian Herodotus referred to Nabataean history in his writing, where the Nabataeans fist appeared in 312 BC and prayed to Oratol.  As the Nabataeans grew in power and wealth, they attracted the attention of their neighbors to the north. The Seleucid King Antigonus, who had come to power when Alexander’s empire was divided, attacked Petra in 312 BC. His army met with relatively little resistance, and was able to sack the city. The quantity of booty was so great, however, that it slowed their return journey north and the Nabataeans were able to annihilate them in the desert. Records indicate that the Nabataeans were eager to remain on good terms with the Seleucids in order to perpetuate their trading ambitions. Throughout much of the third century BC, the Ptolemies and Seleucids warred over control of Jordan, with the Seleucids emerging victorious in 198 BC. The Nabataeans remained essentially untouched and independent throughout this period.

Although the Nabataeans resisted military conquest, the Hellenistic culture of their neighbors influenced them greatly. Hellenistic influences can be seen in Nabataean art and architecture, especially at the time that their empire was expanding northward into Syria, around 150 BC. However, the growing economic and political power of the Nabataeans began to worry the Romans. In 65 BC, the Romans arrived in Damascus and ordered the Nabataeans to withdraw their forces. Two years later, Pompey dispatched a force to cripple Petra. The Nabataean King Aretas III either defeated the Roman legions or paid a tribute to keep peace with them.

The assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC augured a period of relative anarchy for the Romans in Jordan, and the Parthian kings of Persia and Mesopotamia took advantage of the chaotic situation to attack. The Nabataeans made a mistake by siding with the Parthians in their war with the Romans, and after the Parthians’ defeat, Petra had to pay tribute to Rome. When they fell behind in paying this tribute, they were invaded twice by the Roman vassal King Herod the Great. The second attack, in 31 BCE, saw him take control of a large swath of Nabataean territory, including the lucrative northern trading routes into Syria  Nonetheless, the Nabataeans continued to prosper for a while. King Aretas IV, who ruled from 9 BCE to 40 CE, built a chain of settlements along the caravan routes to develop the prosperous incense trade. The Nabataeans realized the power of Rome, and subsequently allied themselves with the Romans to quell the Jewish uprising of 70 CE. However, it was only a matter of time before Nabataea would fall under direct Roman rule. The last Nabataean monarch, Rabbel II, struck a deal with the Romans that as long as they did not attack during his lifetime, they would be allowed to move in after he died. Upon his death in 106 CE, the Romans claimed the Nabataean Kingdom and renamed it Arabia Petrea. The city of Petra was redesigned according to traditional Roman architectural designs, and a period of relative prosperity ensued under the Pax Romana.

The Nabataeans
The Nabataeans profited for a while from their incorporation into the trade routes of the Roman Near East, and Petra may have grown to house 20,000-30,000 people during its heyday. However, commerce became less profitable to the Nabataeans with the shift of trade routes to Palmyra in Syria and the expansion of seaborne trade around the Arabian Peninsula. Sometime probably during the fourth century CE, the Nabataeans left their capital at Petra. No one really knows why. It seems that the withdrawal was an unhurried and organized process, as very few silver coins or valuable possessions have been unearthed at Petra.

Incredible Museums of Time

It contains 280 artifacts, dating back to different ages, the exhibition consists of five halls showing the history of Petra and information about the nabatean’s life and their civilization and showing their life tools and statues which was discovered in Petra by archaeological excavations teams and many other historical piece

The New Museum of Petra

Petra Museum

On March 1- 2014,  PDTRA ( Petra development and tourism region authority ) and JICA  (The Japan International Cooperation Agency) signed an agreement to establish new modern museum near to the visitor center,to showcasing the antiquities of the Nabataean city of Petra, the museum will provide an appropriate venue for exhibiting historical cultural property and preserving the archaeological site, the museum will be be open during 2019.

Nabatean Museum

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The Museum, founded in April 1994, comprises more than 600 artifacts and three main halls. The First Hall displays an introduction to the Nabatean history and geological artifacts from the Neolithic period. The Second Hall is dedicated to the archaeological discoveries according to their respective timeframe, starting from the “Baiyda” excavations dating back to the stone age, “Tawilan” excavations dating back to the Iron Age, “Alzentor” excavations that revealed a number of Nabatean houses, “Alzerabh” excavations that revealed Nabataean pottery ovens dating back to the end of the first century BC until the sixth century A.D., “Winged Black Temple” excavations, and “Girl`s Palace” excavations.  Finally, the Third Hall contains bronze statues, pottery, trading coins, ornaments, jewelry, and a collection of pottery lamps according to their respective timeframe. The museum is under maintenance operations and most of the artifacts are going to be transferred to the new museum near the visitor center .

Petra Archaeological Park

Petra Archaeological Park

Petra Archaeological Park (PAP), which covers an area of 264 dunums (264,000 square meters) within Wadi Musa, is considered a touristic and archaeological site, as well as a World Heritage Site registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1985. The area encompasses a breathtaking landscape of pink-hued rock mountains, the focus of which is the amazing ancient Nabataean city of Petra, which was carved into the rock more than 2,000 years ago.  In August 2007, the Park was announced by virtue of a new bylaw as an autonomous legal entity with separate financial resources, whereby the management and maintenance of the Park is funded through an allocation from the state budget, foreign aid, grants and donations, a percentage of Park entrance fees, and fees from services provided inside the Park.

DID YOU KNOW?

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