Petra

Petra is a famous archaeological site in Jordan's southwestern desert. Dating to around 300 B.C., it was the capital of the Nabatean Kingdom. Accessed via a narrow canyon called Al Siq, it contains tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs, earning its nickname, the "Rose City." Perhaps its most famous structure is 45m-high Al Khazneh, a temple with an ornate, Greek-style facade, and known as The Treasury.

Ever since the Swiss explorer Jean Louis Burckhardt rediscovered this site in 1812, the ancient Nabataean city of Petra has been drawing the crowds – and with good reason. This is without doubt Jordan’s most treasured attraction and when the sun sets over the honeycombed landscape of tombs, carved facades, pillars and sandstone cliffs, its magic is irresistible. At least two days is needed to do the site justice and visit the main monuments at the optimum times of day.

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Petra Through The Back Way to The Monastery
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PETRA: The Treasury

Al-Khazneh is one of the most elaborate temples in Petra, a city of the Nabatean Kingdom inhabited by the Arabs in ancient times. As with most of the other buildings in this ancient town, including the Monastery, this structure was carved out of a sandstone rock face. The structure is believed to have been the mausoleum of the Nabatean King Aretas IV in the 1st century AD. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in both Jordan and the region. It became to be known as "Al-Khazneh", or The Treasury, in the early 19th century by the area's Bedouins as they had believed it contained treasures. Wikipedia

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al-Siq

The Siq is the main entrance to the ancient Nabatean city of Petra in southern Jordan. Also known as Siqit, it is a dim, narrow gorge and winds its way approximately 1.2 kilometres and ends at Petra's most elaborate ruin, Al Khazneh. A wide valley outside leading to the Siq is known as the Bab as-Sīq. Wikipedia

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PETRA: Ad-Deir

Ad Deir, also spelled ad-Dayr and el-Deir, is a monumental building carved out of rock in the ancient Jordanian city of Petra. The Deir was probably carved out of the rock in the mid-first century CE. Arguably one of the most iconic monuments in the Petra Archaeological Park, the Monastery is located high in the hills northwest of the Petra city center. It is the second most commonly visited monument in Petra, after the Khazneh or "Treasury". The huge facade, the inner chamber and the other structures next to it or in the wider area around the Deir probably originally served a complex religious purpose, and was possibly repurposed as a church in the Byzantine period. Wikipedia

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PETRA: High Place of Sacrifice

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PETRA: Great Temple

The so-called Great Temple at Petra is a grand monumental complex that lies south of the Colonnaded Street at Petra. It covers an area of ~7,560 m². The complex was probably completed in the early first century CE, under the rule of Nabataean king Aretas IV, as suggested by architectural and sculptural details. The “Great Temple” occupied a prime spot in ancient Petra: from its ruins one can now see the Siq to the Southeast, the Qasr al-Bint to the West, and the Lower Market/Petra Pool Complex to the East. It is unclear whether the complex was a religious or administrative building, and – if it was indeed religious – low exactly it functioned or to what deity it was dedicated. Wikipedia

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PETRA: Royal tombs

The first of the so called Royal Tombs is the Urn Tomb. This tomb is built high on the mountain side, and requires climbing up a number of flights of stairs. Abbe' Starcky has suggested that this is the tomb of Nabataean King Malchus II who died in 70 AD. Dr. Schmidt-Colinet on the other hand has proposed that this is the tomb of Aretas IV.

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PETRA: Temple of Dushares

The Qasr al-Bint is a religious temple in the Nabataean city of Petra. It faces the Wadi Musa and is located to the northwest of the Great Temple and to the southwest of the Temple of the Winged Lions. One of the best preserved of the ancient structures surviving in Petra today, it stands near the monumental gate and was a key focal point on the colonnaded street, as well as a focus of religious worship. Wikipedia

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PETRA: Street of Facades

After the viewing the Treasury, we come next to the Street of Facades, which is lined with tall, impressive tombs, with large facades or false faces on their fronts. In order to investigate this tomb, high on the cliff side, archeologists used a famous mountain climber to climb up the mountain and leap down to the small ledge in front of the tomb. Unfortunately the tomb had been robbed long ago and he found only a new bones

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PETRA: Obelisk tomb

Tomb, ruins, nabataeans, ancient history, and architecture

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PETRA: Byzantine Church - Petra

The Byzantine Church at Petra is a prime example of monumental architecture in Byzantine Petra. It sits on elevated ground in the city center, north of the so-called Colonnaded Street. It is one of three Byzantine churches on the hillside, the others two being the Ridge Church and the Blue Chapel, the 5th - 6th century chapel north of the main church, so called because it was fashioned with blue Egyptian granite. The Byzantine Church is notable for its lavish and well-preserved mosaic decoration. The Byzantine Church is the find spot of 140 papyri that have provided scholars with valuable information about life in both Byzantine Petra and in its rural surroundings. These are referred to by scholars as the Petra papyri. The church was excavated by the American Center of Oriental Research between 1992 and 2002. According to Dr. Barbara A. Porter, Director of ACOR 2006-2020, while many elements of Petra’s Byzantine history were known prior, the “remarkable concentration of church wealth” demonstrated via these three hillside churches is of great scholarly significance. Wikipedia

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Triclinium

Little Petra, also known as Siq al-Barid is an archaeological site located north of Petra and the town of Wadi Musa in the Ma'an Governorate of Jordan. Like Petra, it is a Nabataean site, with buildings carved into the walls of the sandstone canyons. As its name suggests, it is much smaller, consisting of three wider open areas connected by a 450-metre canyon. It is part of the Petra Archeological Park, though accessed separately, and included in Petra's inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is often visited by tourists in conjunction with Petra itself, since it is free and usually less crowded. Like Petra, it was probably built during the height of Nabataean influence during the 1st century C.E. While the purpose of some of the buildings is not clear, archaeologists believe that the whole complex was a suburb of Petra, the Nabatean capital, meant to house visiting traders on the Silk Road. After the decline of the Nabataeans, it fell vacant, used only by Bedouin nomads, for centuries. Along with neighboring Beidha, Little Petra was excavated in the later 20th century by Diana Kirkbride and Brian Byrd. Wikipedia

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PETRA: Colonnaded Street

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PETRA: Winged Lion Temple

The Temple of the Winged Lions is a large Nabatean temple complex located in Petra, Jordan, and dated to the reign of King Aretas IV. The temple is located in Petra’s so-called Sacred Quarter, an area situated at the end of Petra’s main Colonnaded Street consisting of two majestic temples, the Qasr al-Bint and, opposite, the Temple of the Winged Lions on the northern bank of Wadi Musa. The temple is likely dedicated to the supreme goddess figure of the Nabateans, but the exact identity of this goddess is uncertain. It was ultimately destroyed in the massive earthquake of 363 CE. Analyses of the architecture, goods, and practices associated with the Temple of the Winged Lions afford valuable insights into Nabataean religion, economy, and culture. Inscription found at the temple offer a glimpse into the details of Nabataean law and order associated with religious ritual, worship, and the allocation and generation of temple revenue. Wikipedia

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PETRA: Mount Hor

Mount Hor is the name given in the Old Testament to two distinct mountains. One borders the land of Edom in the area south of the Dead Sea, and the other is by the Mediterranean Sea at the Northern border of the Land of Israel. The first Mount Hor is especially significant to the Israelites as Aaron the high priest, brother of Moses, died there. Wikipedia

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Beidha

Beidha, also sometimes Bayda, is a major Neolithic archaeological site a few kilometres north of Petra near Siq al-Barid in Jordan. It is included in Petra's inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wikipedia

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PETRA: Petra Museum

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PETRA: Silk Tomb

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PETRA: Bab al-Siq

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PETRA: Kubtha High Place

In recent years the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Jordan has repaired the stairs to Al Kubtha Mountain, making it possible for tourists to climb to the top and visit the High Place and other sites on this mountain. The stairs up this mountain are located between the Palace Tomb and Sextius Florentinus Tomb. The name Kubtha was given to this mountain by locals, and is not the name used in ancient times. There was a high place altar here and a standing idol on a base.

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PETRA: The Hadrian Gate (also known as the Temenos Gate)

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PETRA: Blocks

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PETRA: Sacrifice The High Place

The High Place is located at the very top of a mountain. If you want to see it, you will have to climb up there. The main steps to the high place start just before the amphitheater. The picture on the right is looking down onto the tent beside the stairs. People are starting up the stairs for the assent to the High Place. Everyone seems to have a different count but the general consensus is that it is over eight hundred. If you are adventurous you can always take a donkey ride, but watch those corners! Below: Your destination 700 steps up the mountain!

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PETRA: Nabatean theatre

Petra's theater is cut out of solid rock, and badly deteriorated. The front of the theater, including most of the stage was badly damaged by floods. The photograph on the left was taken from inside a rock cave across the road from the theater.

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PETRA: Treasury Viewpoint

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PETRA: Garden Temple

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PETRA: Renaissance Tomb

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PETRA: Lion Fountain

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PETRA: Tomb of the Soldier

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PETRA: Blue Chapel

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PETRA: Churches

The Christian era at Petra came during the 3rd, 4th and 5th centuries, when the area came under Byzantine control. Although the city remained mainly pagan, there were three churches and a cathedral of sorts… an old tomb was turned into a small cathedral. In addition, some tombs later had crosses inscribed into their walls. When considering a map of Petra, it appears that there was a small Christian sector, with the three churches built almost side by side, and near the Urn Tomb cathedral. To the north of the churches one finds the Christian tombs. The rest of Petra appears to have remained pagan, with the temples being in operation until the very end of Petra, when it was occupied by Muslim forces.

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PETRA: The Temple of Al Uzza

A temple designed for worshiping Al ‘Uzza, a pre-Islamic goddess closely associated with water, would allow for insight into both the religious aspect of water management and water’s relationship with Nabataeans in Petra. Dr. Hammond published a report on the 1974-1990 seasons’ excavations (Hammond 1996) but the results of later fieldwork are no longer accessible. Scholars as well as Jordan’s Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism were worried that the lack of conservation on the site had severely threatened the survival of the temple.

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