"Petra - City in Stone" Petra by bwk_michael

Petra Travel Guide: 987 reviews and 2,536 photos

About Petra

Petra is an archaeological site in Arabah, Aqaba Governorate, Jordan, lying on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It is renowned for its rock-cut architecture.

The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was discovered by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. It was famously described as "a rose-red city half as old as time" in a Newdigate prize-winning sonnet by John William Burgon. UNESCO has described it as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage." In 1985, Petra was designated a World Heritage Site.

Petra Today

On December 6, 1985 Petra was designated a World Heritage Site.

In 2006 a team of architects began designing a "Visitor Centre," and Jordan's tourist revenue is expected to increase dramatically with the attraction of visitors on package holidays. The Jordan Times reported in December 2006 that 59,000 people visited in the two months October and November 2006, 25% fewer than the same period in the previous year, which may suggest that the flow of visitors may be affected by perception of political instability or travel safety considerations.

On July 7, 2007, Petra was named one of New Open World Corporation's New Seven Wonders of the World

Where About

Rekem is an ancient name for Petra and appears in Dead Sea scrolls associated with Mount Seir. Additionally, Eusebius and Jerome assert that Rekem was the native name of Petra, supposedly on the authority of Josephus, Pliny the Elder and other writers identify Petra as the capital of the Nabataeans, Aramaic-speaking Semites, and the centre of their caravan trade. Enclosed by towering rocks and watered by a perennial stream, Petra not only possessed the advantages of a fortress but controlled the main commercial routes which passed through it to Gaza in the west, to Bosra and Damascus in the north, to Aqaba and Leuce Come on the Red Sea, and across the desert to the Persian Gulf.

  • Last visit to Petra: Oct 2004
  • Intro Updated Jul 8, 2008
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