The historic city of Petra, also known as Al-Batra in Arabic, is one of the world’s most fascinating ancient sites. Located in Jordan, the city is famous for the advanced irrigation system that was built there and the intricate carvings that are located throughout the area.
Established around 312 BC and now a World Wonder, Petra is one of the oldest cities in existence and is still a point of interest for millions of travelers around the world. Keep reading to find out 10 things you didn’t know about Petra in Jordan.
10 It Is Home To The World’s Most Famous Treasury
One of the major points of interest in the city of Petra is the Treasury, which is among the world’s most iconic and fascinating structures. According to History Lists, the Treasury at Petra was originally created to be a mausoleum and was completed by the 1stcentury AD.
If you can only take one photograph while visiting Petra, let it be of the Treasury, which is located at the entrance to the city. Legends dictate that the monument was operating as a treasury during the time of Moses.
9 Petra Was Once Part Of The Roman Empire
Situated in the Middle East, Petra was once part of the Roman Empire. It was incorporated into a district known as Arabia Petraea when a figure called Cornelius Palma became the governor of Syria.
When the Romans were ruling in Petra, many Romans arrived to settle in the city. The economy of the city began to flourish and the Petra Roman Road was constructed to encourage more trading and friendly relations. History buffs love Petra because it played a role in a number of great civilizations, including the Romans.
8 It Is A Wonder Of The World
In ancient times, Petra wasn’t considered a world Wonder. But in modern times, we regard the preserved and intriguing city with much higher regard. Travel Talk Tours states that the city became a Wonder of the modern world in 2007, so it’s definitely worth adding to your bucket list.
Other World Wonders include the Taj Mahal (located in India), the Colosseum (located in Rome), Machu Picchu (located in Peru), the Great Wall of China, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, and the fascinating structure of Chichen Itza (situated in Mexico).
7 The Location Of The City Is Significant For The Monotheistic Religions
Petra certainly played a role in the Roman Empire and, according to legend, housed a treasury for Egyptian Pharaohs. The city is also significant for the monotheistic religions as it is said to be the location of the Spring of Moses, which is famous in Biblical legend.
The city is located in the Valley of Moses, or the Wadi Musa, where the Spring can be found. According to Biblical sources, Moses created the Spring when he used his rod to strike the sandstone rock. Historians and archeologists have theorized that this Spring may have provided water to the city.
6 Now Covered In Rock, It Was Once A Lush Oasis
While we don’t know for sure that a legendary Spring created by a legendary Biblical figure supplied water to Petra, we do know that the city did have a healthy supply of water. Because of this, the people of Petra were able to grow lavish green gardens. So in the middle of the desert, Petra seemed like an oasis.
Archeologists have uncovered the remains of irrigation systems similar to what the Egyptians and Mesopotamians would have used. Remnants of water fountains, pools, and other aquatic structures have been discovered, supporting the theory that Petra was a place that was lush, not barren.
5 It Was Once Home To Around 30,000 People
There was a time when there were between 20,000 and 30,000 people living in Petra. During this time, the city flourished as a hub of trade and commerce. The people who inhabited the city were called Nabateans and are also mentioned in the Bible.
The Nabateans lived not only in what is modern-day Jordan, but could be found across Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Originally nomadic people, the Nabateans gained wealth by trading goods such as frankincense, which led them to settle permanently.
4 It Is Sometimes Called The Lost City
Although the famous city is officially named Petra, it is also known by a variety of epithets. One of these is the Lost City, due to the fact that it remained uninhabited for five centuries. Modern records of Petra only date back to 1812, when Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, accidentally discovered the city.
At the time, Burckhardt was on a business expedition between Cairo and Timbuktu, employed as an engineer by the African Association. When he stumbled upon the remains of Petra, he knew he had found something truly amazing.
3 The City Was Used As A Trade Route
History has told us of many famous trade routes. Petra was one such city connecting Greece to South Asia. Because of this, it once held many treasures and was a bustling commercial hub. But as the city faced challenges, including a major earthquake that unlevelled it, many of the treasures it once housed were stolen.
Oh Fact points out that although the city was created to link Greece with South Asia, the Nabateans strategically decided to build in the current location due to influences from astrology. Some studies have found that they constructed the city in order to track the sun.
2 It Is Named After Rocks
There’s one resource they have in abundance in Petra: rocks. You’ll see plenty of rocks and rocky terrain if you ever decide to visit the famous city, whose name originates from Greek. Petrosrefers to rocks in Greece, and it’s not difficult to see how the name was chosen.
On The Go Tours explains that in Arabic, Petra is known as Al-Batra. In addition to the Lost City, sometimes Petra is also called the Rose City. This is because the rocks tend to adopt a reddish-pink shade at sunrise and sunset.
1 Petra Is Not Totally Safe
Petra is a Word Wonder and one of the most prominent ancient locations that is still in existence. But the city is still facing a few challenges that may threaten its safety in the future. The biggest threat to Petra at the current time in sandstone erosion, which could one day result in the carvings and structures of the city collapsing.
Experts are also worried about flash floods, which has led archeologists to fix the dam systems around the city. Finally, unsustainable tourism is another challenge which may have a negative impact on the city in the future.