Petra is the treasure of 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. 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 approach through a kilometer long, cool, and gloom chasm (or Siq) a long narrow gorge whose steeply rising sides all but obliterate the sun, provides a dramatic contrast with the magic to come. Suddenly the gorge opens into a natural square dominated by Petra's most famous monument, The Treasury (El-Khazneh), whose intricately carved facade glows in the dazzling sun.
|The magic of Petra - brand new day|
More facades beckon the visitor on until the ancient city gradually unfolds, one monument leading to the next for kilometer after kilometer. The sheer size of the city and the quality of beautifully carved facades is staggering and leads one to reflect on the creativity and industry of the Nabataeans who made Petra their capital.
Petra is always breathtaking, and never to be forgotten. It flourished for over 400 years around the time of Rome and Christ (pbuh), until it was occupied by the Roman legions of the Emperor Trajan in 106 AD.
|Petra - Burial Chambers|
The Petra basin boasts over 800 individual monuments, including buildings, tombs, baths, funerary halls, temples, arched gateways, and colonnaded streets, that were mostly carved from the kaleidoscopic sandstone by the technical and artistic genius of its inhabitants.
Petra sights are at their best in early morning and late afternoon, when the sun warms the multicolored stones, you can view the majesty of Petra as it was seen first when discovered in 1812 after being lost by the 16th century for almost 300 years!
Before the Nabataeans, Petra
Although most people associate Petra with the Nabataeans, in fact man lived in and around the are a long before their arrival. Just to the north of Petra, near the site of "Little Petra", on the Siq Al-Barid, are found the remains of the farming village of Beidha, which was inhabited from 7000 to 6500 BC. This was the period when man was making the transition from a nomadic, hunting and gathering lifestyle to a sedentary one, in which he cultivated cereals and domesticated animals.
Beidha was an obvious site to choose; it occupied naturally defended ground and was plentifully supplied with water from the Beidha valley. Today one can still see the remains of walls of the early houses of these newly settled farmers, with their internal hearths and plastered floors. The site, which clearly demonstrates the evolution of different housing patterns, is regarded by archaeologists as being as important as the ancient remains of Jericho.
Making a huge leap through time we arrive at the era of the Edomites, the people who occupied Petra area in the Iron Age (1200-539 BC) immediately before the arrival of the Nabataeans. Edom was the most southerly of the three Kingdoms of Ammon, Moab and Edom, and appears also to have been the most prosperous.
The little we know of the Edomites comes from Biblical accounts and from the remains of their settlements, which would seem to have been situated in the hills surrounding Petra rather than on the actual site chosen by the Nabataeans for their magnificent city.
Excavations have revealed Edomite settlements in nearby Tawilan and on the summit of the mountain of Umm Biyara. Most of the Old Testament accounts of the Edomites stress the constant state of hostility between them and the Israelites. The Edomites appear to have been poor masons when it came to working with rock but to have excelled in pottery making, an art which they may have passed on to the Nabataeans.
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