Petra - Tomb
Petra – Tomb

Petra was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World!

Petra, in western Jordan, is a fascinating ancient city about 80 kilometres south of the Dead Sea, which was half-build, half-carved into stone, with beautiful examples of Eastern and Hellenistic architecture.

Petra means ‘rock’ in Latin and it is also said that Roman emperor Hadrian named it Hadriane Petra, after his own name. The ancient city was lost to the modern western world for some 500 years after the Crusades until rediscovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a Swiss explorer, in 1812 after he convinced a local guide to take him there.

Petra has elaborate tomb and temple architecture, sites that are of religious significance to different religions, remains of copper mines, churches and other buildings.

In 1200BC, the area was populated by Edomites till the Nabataeans moved in and the Edomites moved elsewhere. Petra reached prominence under the Nabataeans who are said to have migrated there in the sixth century BC from north-eastern Arabia and it became an important centre of trade.

They also constructed some of Petra’s most impressive structures, such as the Treasury, the Great Temple and the Qasr el-Bint el-Faroun was well as an elaborate system for conserving water and channelling it around the city by the use of terracotta piping.

Roman general Pompey made it a Roman colony around 63 BC and in 105-106 AD, Roman emperor Trajan made Petra into the Roman province of Arabia Petraea, and it remained peacefully as an ally of Rome.

This Roman period saw the influence of Roman architectural designs on Petra, such as the construction of an impressive classical theatre and a main street. Christianity arrived in the region in fourth century and, besides the construction of churches, some existing tombs and temples at Petra were converted into churches and monasteries.

By the seventh century, Islam had arrived in the region but Petra was not even a shadow of its former self and it slowly became a lost city after the Crusades.

The city is spread over a very large area that is packed with remains of tombs, temples, sanctuaries, altars to gods and churches, and only part of these have been excavated so far.

Petra had been a city of great religious significance, related to many religions, throughout its history.

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