The History of Petra

UNESCO has described it as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage

Petra is the treasure of the ancient world, hidden behind an almost impenetrable barrier of rugged mountains, boasting incomparable scenes that make it the most majestic and imposing ancient site still-standing nowadays.

It has been said "perhaps there is nothing in the world that resembles it", actually, for sure, there is nothing in the world that resembles it, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.....Why?

The colores of petra

To Answer this, lets go to a journey through time and History with What, Were, When

The Name

Greek name Petra meaning (“Rock”), which probably replaced the biblical name Sela.

Before the Nabateans

Many Remains been discovered from Both the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods, at Petra, in about 1200 bce, before the Nabateans, the area known as Edom ("red")

Edomites occupied the area, controlling the trade routes from Arabia to Damascus.

The Place

Where is Petra?

Petra lies in the Great Rift Valley east of Wadi Araba in Jordan about 80 kilometers south of the Dead Sea.


Why there?

An international spice trade that extended from India to Rome, the whole area flourished with increased trade and led to the establishment of new towns such as Philadelphia (Rabbath Ammon, modern Amman) and Gerasa (modern Jerash).

With Nabataean rule, Petra became the center for a spice trade that extended from Arabia to Aqaba and Petra, and onward either to Gaza in the northwest, or to the north through Amman to Bostra, Damascus, and finally on to Palmyra and the Syrian Desert.

The Time

Hellenistic Period,

In about 312 BC, during this time the Nabataeans migrated into Edom, occupied the area and made Petra the capital of their kingdom and gain control over the caravan routes between Arabia and Syria.


Roman Period,

In 64-63 BCE, The Nabataeans were conquered by the Romans, at the time of the Roman Emperor Trajan, in 106 CE, Petra and Nabataea then became part of the Roman province known as Arabia with its capital at Petra, and served as a buffer territory against the desert tribes.

The city continued to flourish during the Roman period, In 330 CE, when Emperor Constantine established the Eastern Roman Empire.

Under Roman rule, Roman Classical monuments abounded - many with Nabataean overtones.


Byzantine Period,

When Christianity arrived in the 4th century, Petra retained its urban vitality into late antiquity, when it was the seat of a Byzantine bishopric.

Various tombs and temples at Petra were used as churches, they recycled many standing structures and rock-cut monuments, while also constructing their own buildings, including churches, especially in the sixth century.

An example of monuments they reused is the great tomb or the Ad-Dayr (known also as 'The Monastery'), which was modified into a church.


Islamic Period,

With the rise of Islam, Islam arrived in the Arab invasion at the 7th century, Petra became a backwater community, Crusader outpost is evidence of activity there in the 12th century, after the Crusades, Petra became a "lost city," known only to local Arabs.

Present Time

Petra was revealed to the western world in 1812 for the first time since the Crusades when it was re-discovered by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt.

Despite almost 100 years of excavation, only one-percent of the city been investigated.

A “rose-red city half as old as Time.”

John William Burgon


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