Petra is located just outside the town of Wadi Mousa in southern Jordan. It is 260 kilometers from Amman via the Desert Highway and 280 kilometers via the King’s Highway. Petra is the most spectacular ancient city remaining in the modern world, and certainly a must-see for visitors to Jordan and the Middle East. The ancient city of Petra was built from 800 BC to 100 AD by the Nabetean Arabs. In this era Petra was a fortress, carved out of craggy rocks in an area which was virtually inaccessible. In the first and second century, after the Romans took over, the city reached the peak of its fame. However, when caravan routes were slowly displaced by shipping, the city's importance gradually dwindled; it fell into disuse and was lost to the world for seven centuries until 1812, when it was re-discovered by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Nowadays Petra is Jordan's number 1 tourist attraction, known as the "rose red city half as old as time".

Petra Jordan Much of Petra’s fascination comes from its setting on the edge of Wadi Araba. The rugged sandstone hills form a deep canyon easily protected from all directions. The easiest access to Petra is through the Siq, a winding cleft in the rock that varies from between five to 200 meters wide. At the end of the narrow gorge stands Petra's most elaborate ruin, Al Khazneh ("the Treasury"), hewn into the sandstone cliff. The dramatic view of the Treasury was made famous in the movie “Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Doom” A little further from the Treasury, at the foot of the mountain called en-Nejr is a massive theatre, so placed as to bring the greatest number of tombs within view. At the point where the valley opens out into the plain, the site of the city is revealed with striking effect. The amphitheatre has actually been cut into the hillside and into several of the tombs during its construction. There are many other treasures that are scattered around the city in abundance, from buildings, facades, tombs, baths and funerary halls to temples and haunting rock drawings. The majesty of the sites of Petra will be etched in your mind forever. Make sure you wear your comfortable walking shoes because you will be doing a lot of walking in Petra.

In the Bible Petra is the city of the Nabateans, the descendants of the Nebajots (1 Moses 25:12 - 18 and 1 Chronicles 1:29 and Isaiah 60:7). The first King of the Nabateans was Aretas (2 Makkabar 5:8). In biblical times the Nabateans were Bedouins even though Petra was a focal point for them (2 Makkabar 12). Later Petra became the royal city of the Nabateans. The earliest historical records for the Nabateans date back to the year 312 B.C. and the last sign of life was in the year 328 A.D.

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