Jordan is a Middle East country (Arab Kingdom) located on the Eastern bank of the Jordan River. The country is rich in history, culture and tradition and has plenty to explore for international tourists. Plenty of guided Jordan tours are available to spend a holiday in in this fascinating country.
The country’s greatest attraction is the lost city of Petra, a historic city completely carved out of rose colored sandstone cliffs for which it is also known as Rose City. Petra has some great historical facts that are less known to the tourist world. Here, we provide you five great aspects that makes Petra the magnificent city that it is.
1. Early History of Petra:
Petra had settlers by 1200 BCE; the site was populated by Edomites who controlled the trade routes from Damascus to Arabic. Edomites were wise people known for their skills in making textiles, ceramics, metal works. Eventually, they were forced to move to Palestine as the more-powerful Nabeteans occupied their land. Nabeteans made Petra their capital in 312 BC. During the peak of their civilization, they had built a system of water ways that fulfilled the city’s water needs. Under their regime, the city thrived in caravan trade and became a junction where traders from far away places like China, Egypt, Greece, Syria and Arabia came to trade silk, spices, etc.
2.The Roman Conquest:
In 64 BC, the Roman General Pompey conquered conquered the city and merged it into the Roman Empire; Petra was made the capital of Arabia Petraea. Although the native dynasties perished, the city flourished in trade. It suffered a severe earthquake in 363 AD which destroyed half of its structures, but the residents somehow managed to repair them. A more severe earthquake in 551 CE caused the city to come to a ruin. It was abandoned till 1812 when Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a famous Swiss explorer, discovered it.
3. Religion, Culture and Art:
Nabeteans worshiped pre-Islamic Arab gods, goddesses and kings. Many artworks honoring them can still be found on the structures. Slowly Christianity found its way into the city in the 4th century. It became the major religion until Islam took over in the 7th century following Muslim invaders (image by Franco Caruzzo).
4. Structures in Petra:
Petra is a Greek word meaning ‘rock’. It consists of about 800 structures including temples, buildings, tombs, arched gateways and baths They are just 20% of the them it once had before the earthquakes. The city’s best monument is the statue of Dushara, a male deity, carved out of a a 2100 pound sandstone. A mausoleum named Pharaoh’s Treasure is also very popular. Tourists can reach this site only by traveling through a canyon that is 300 meter high. Petra’s beauty comes alive when the sun is bright, in the afternoon and early morning; the rose colored sandstone shines brilliantly as tourists gasp in wonder.
In 1985, UNESCO recognized Petra as one of the World Heritage Sites, and praised it as ” one of the most precious cultural cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage”. Petra is also listed in Smithsonian magazine’s list “28 places to see before you die”. Many locations in Petra are used as sets for filming the reputed Indiana Jones film series. John William Burgon’s poem titled Petra describing the city’s beauty won the Newdigate Prize. Petra is also mentioned in the Holy Bible as Sela.
Petra is a perfect destination for families who are looking to visits historic sites in the Middle East. Excellent transport and accommodation facilities are available here for tourists.
Related post: Top 6 Things To See or Do In Dubai
Feature image by Seetheholyland.net