Hidden amongst the towering jagged red sandstone peaks between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea in Jordan, Petra is a distinctive ancient capital city, skilfully built and carved into the rock face by the ancient Nabataeans (Nabataens).
The Nabataeans were a dynamic North Arabian nomadic people who settled at Petra more than 2200 thousand years ago (possible as early as the 6th century BC) and during their time Petra prospered as an important caravan trade crossroad that linked the near East, Africa, India, with the Mediterranean.
Despite being set in one of the world’s harshest environment Petra, which means “stone” in Greek, endured as a liveable city and its longevity was mainly due to the brilliance of the ancient Nabataeans who were able to ingeniously engineer advanced complex hydraulic water systems that would harness and conserve precious water from the seasonal flash floods.
Rediscovered in 1812 by Swiss explorer John Lewis Burckhardt after being lost to the World for hundreds of years, Petra is one of the world’s most famous, richest and largest archaeological sites.
The splendours of Petra’s architecture are a fusion of Greek, Syrian, Arabian and Roman elements and a walk through the city will reveal of hundreds of rock carved tombs, elegant Hellenistic temple facades, funerary halls and rock reliefs and even a classical style theatre.
It is a UNESCO world heritage listed site and UNESCO has described it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage.
All images, text and content are copyright Steven Sklifas