Petra: A fabled city in the rock
The first glimpse of the sunlit edifice of The Khazneh as it comes into view, spectacularly, at the end of the narrow and shady Siq.
The ancient city of Petra in Jordan is a stunning place. This 2000 year old wonder deserves its overused description of ‘a rose-red city half as old as time‘, taken from a poem by John William Burgon. Petra was established by the pre-Roman Nabateans. A remarkable feature is that many of the elaborate temples, tombs and other monuments were cut into solid, richly-colored rock.
The Khazneh (Treasury) bathed in candlelight at night
The rise and fall of Petra
The wealth of Petra grew because of the city’s strategic position as a commercial crossroads on important trade routes. As the city flourished from the second century BCE, its buildings became increasingly imposing. Petra fell to the Romans in 106 CE and, although the city continued to thrive for a time, its importance later declined along with the caravan routes on which it depended. Petra was eventually abandoned and fell into centuries of obscurity.