Petra (meaning “rock” in Greek) is consideration the most famous archaeological site in Jordan lying in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Wadi Araba, the great valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.
The rock-carved rose-red city of Petra is full of mysterious charm. It was “designed to strike wonder into all who entered it”. The long-hidden site was revealed ti the Western world by the Swiss explorer Johan Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812.
Petra is the legacy of the nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled in Southern Jordan more than 2000 years ago. The Romans conquered it in 106 AD and made it part of the Roman provide of Arabia Petraea.
The city continued to flourish in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, but later, when the rival city of Palmyra took away most of Petra’s trade, the importance of Petra declined. It was conquered by the Muslims in the 7th century and captured by the Crusaders in the 12th century; gradually it fell into ruins.
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