Petra – the city of Nabataeans, until recently hidden from the world, carved in stone over 2,000 years ago. Today, frequented by tourists from around the world and recognized as one of the modern wonders of the world, is undoubtedly the biggest attraction of Jordan.
What not to say about Petra makes an amazing impression. Tombs, temple facades and theater take the visitor back in time to the extraordinary history of the city. In the 4th century BC Petra was a center of Nabataean culture, a commercial center with a developed legal system, and owed its position to the location next to the Silk Road, as well as the unique terrain that protected its inhabitants.
How can such a place be hidden from the rest of the world for so long? For centuries, Petra was known only to local tribes who diligently guarded access to this place. Until the time when 27-year-old Johann Ludwig Burckhardt appeared in Jordan. On the road to Cairo along the most dangerous inland road to Aqaba, Burckhardt heard rumors of ancient ruins in a narrow valley near the alleged biblical grave of Aaron, brother of Moses.
It reminded him of the story of Dr. Seetzen, which he had heard in Malta of Dr. Seetzen. The doctor set off from Egypt to Arabia in search of the lost city of Petra, but was murdered.
Calling himself Sheikh, Burckhardt traveled around Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. On the road south of Nazareth to Cairo, when he traveled with a group of merchants, sheep and goats, he hired a local guide to lead him to the ruins of the ancient city on the pretext of sacrificing him on Aaron’s grave atop Mount Hor. He did this to dull the vigilance of hostile Bedouin tribes inhabiting these areas.
The hired guide led him through a long and narrow canyon, well known to us from the photos, to the magnificent city, carved in orange-red rock. He admired the magnificent ancient tombs and remains of a Roman temple. He was convinced that it was Petra, but he could not reveal his thoughts, because he was afraid that he would be exposed as an infidel looking for the lost treasure and almost certainly attacked. So he sacrificed the goat as planned and returned to his route to Cairo.
Petra is the ruins of the city of Nabataeans, an ancient people of Semitic origin, who settled in Israel and Jordan from the 6th century BC. At the turn of the 4th and 3rd century BC, Petra developed slowly, the Nabataeans lived in tents and led a half-nomadic life. They stored treasures in hard-to-reach places, such as the tops of easily defensive rocks – such as Umm al-Bijara in Petra.
The Nabetys became enriched by trading incense, myrrh and the most valuable spices that they supplied from southern Arabia, today’s Yemen. The Dead Sea, in turn, supplied them with fossil asphalt, which they sold to the Egyptians, using bitumen for embalming corpses. Petra flourished from the third century B.C. to the first century C.E. when she served as the capital of the kingdom.
After the death of the last king of Nabateans, the city was taken over by the Romans and gave it a typical Roman character. The reason for the total depopulation of the city for almost 5 centuries was a series of strong earthquakes after which the city began to gradually depopulate.
There are many trails to choose from, but the most beautiful and interesting is the Main Trail, it starts at the Petra Visitir Center, runs through the photogenic Siq Gorge, at the end of which lies the Al-Khazneh Treasury. Then the trail passes near the Theater, the Royal Wall and ends at Qasr al-Bint – Palace of the Pharaoh’s Daughter.