Amazing facts you should know about Petra
Petra was a hidden secret for almost 1500 years
The stories about this mystic city must have compelled Swiss traveler and explorer Johann Burckhardt to choose the road little known to anyone else. He travelled from Damascus to Cairo and a long travel through the desert way to reach Sharra Mountains; chasing the stories about the presence of a magnificent ancient city. Johann Burckhardt studied and learnt Arabic for a year before he began on his journey and presented himself as a Muslim among the Arab people. His reports about the lost city astonished the western world and more and more westerner travelled to Petra out of curiosity to know about this lost city. Sad that Johaan couldn’t even live the glory of his fame back at home, and died in Arab peninsula at an early age of 32. But his report and discovery introduced the World to a lost Kingdom.
Petra was built by Nabataeans, a nomadic froup from Arabia
Originally a nomadic people from southern Arabia, the Nabataeans arrived in what is now Jordan around the 6th century BC. Over time, they abandoned their nomadic ways and established Petra as the center of a lucrative trade route that connected China and India to Rome and Greece through southern Arabia. Maintaining control of this trade, particularly the commerce in incense and spices, was the lifeblood of their kingdom, which reached its zenith during the 1st century BC.
Petra, an engineering marvel
Petra, without a doubt is one of the magnificent cities of ancient world. Its monumental temple like tomb soaring high in the sky, almost 100 feet tall.
And these wonder of engineering are not constructed, these are carved out of sandstone cliffs. Its not a monument but a sculpture carved, twice the height of mount Rushmore.The mystery is being resolved how these structure were carved so high up. Built almost 2000 years ago, Petra is a master piece of design and engineering. It is found in research that these sculpture are carved upside down without using any support.And there are hundreds of such facades carved everywhere in Petra, some are accessible, and some are not.
Petra was once today’s Las Vegas
The city of Petra was the home for about 20000 people. According to Petra history facts, they included Nabataeans, Romans and businessmen from various other parts of the ancient world. The recent archaeological researches reveal that the business community in Petra was leading luxurious lives. There were gardens, theaters, swimming pools, water storages, water channels for sufficient water supply for the whole city. The puzzle is still being solved how the ancient people supply the water for such a huge population in the middle of the desert.
Petra’s one kilometer long entrance
The Siq, meaning “gorge”, is still the main entrance into Petra – and its most dramatic natural feature. The Siq path twists and turns between bizarrely eroded cliffs for over a kilometre, sometimes widening to form sunlit piazzas in the echoing heart of the mountain; in other places, the looming walls (150m high) close in to little more than a couple of meters apart, blocking out sound, warmth and even daylight. This is the only access to Petra is through a 300 meter high canyon and kept it safe from the invasions over the years.
Petra can be explored for weeks and months
The ancient city of Petra in Jordan is located in Wadi Musa. Arabian Peninsula, the ancient city of Petra, the territory of present-day southern Jordan Gulf of Aqaba to the Dead Sea is located between the region of sandstone cliffs. 246 km from the Jordanian capital Amman, the ancient city is 128 km away in the Gulf of Aqaba. Archaeologists, scientists and engineers from various parts of the world are today involved in the task of rebuilding Petra. So far, they could unearth only one – twentieth of the ancient city. Hence a lot remains unknown about ancient Petra history.
Bedouins still live in Petra
Bediouns or also known as Bedu still maintain the traditional nomadic way of life.The Bedouins are here as controller for these caves and also manage the commute inside Petra. Because Petra is very important to them, it is their home where they have grown up climbing the mountains, make the home in the stone caves.
The Bedouin community has been drifting across the sand since long before Jordan existed. The name in their native tongue of Arabic literally means “desert dwellers,” and for centuries they have carved a life in this harsh landscape. Despite often being isolated, the Bedouin people are known for their hospitality to travelers and are often happy to share a meal with visitors they come across. In Petra and Wadi rum there is a lot of opportunity to spend time with bediouns and know about their culture, life and believes.
Downfall of Petra
The majestic empire was also rocked by several earthquakes, which led to the empire’s decline. And then they suddenly disappeared into the unknown pages of history where they came from, leaving behind all this painstaking work! The water supply system was also affected by this earthquake. Since Petra was economically powerful, it could have withstood the natural calamity, but, the sudden changes in the trade routes had a negative impact on Petra and by the end of AD 363 Petra had lost all its glory.
Petra-influenced some of classic movies of its time
If you are an Indiana Jones fan, you may feel that you are enacting a scene out of the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade while entering through the Siq and peeking through the Al Khazneh. In the movie though, this was the Canyon of the Crescent Moon. Other movies featuring scenes influenced by the breathtaking sites in Petra include Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Arabian Nights, and Mortal Kombat Annhilation.