Where and what is Petra ?
An ancient city in Jordan, Petra was once the capital of the Nabatean people , traders who came to dominate international trade in the Middle East 2,000 years ago . After a meteoric rise to power, they briefly challenged the power of Rome before succumbing . They then disappeared from history .
The Nabataeans were originally a nomadic Arab tribe who have ventured into the desert around the 5th century BC and settled in the mountains of southern Jordan Shara at the crossroads of trade routes. In 350BC they had abandoned raids camel for charging merchants for safe passage . Standing pivot exchanges between Asia , Arabia and the Mediterranean, their power base Petra ( a Greek word meaning rock ) grew fabulously rich . Frankincense and myrrh came to Yemen to downstream distribution . Pepper, sugar , ginger and cotton have been negotiated with India. Traders exchanged Chinese silks for gold and silver. When the Roman general Pompey came to attack Petra in 62 BC, the Nabataeans just bought him off.
In the first century AD, Petra was home to perhaps 35,000 people. The Roman author Strabo described as a cosmopolitan city , full of beautiful buildings and gardens. In 106AD , the Nabataeans ceded power to the Romans, start a new era of prosperity that lasted until after the adoption of Christianity in 324. However, changes in the structure of trade has led to a decline . In 749, when an earthquake destroyed almost all standalone buildings, Petra was more or less deserted.
He stayed like that for a thousand years, until the Swiss explorer Jean Louis Burckhardt persuaded the Bedouin to guide him to the ruins in 1812. The "rediscovery" of the legendary city fueled a resurgence of interest among travelers and archaeologists still persists today.
Why should visit Petra ?
Petra is one of the most fascinating historical sites in the world , up there with the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids for romance and visual theater . A first glimpse of the Treasury of Petra - the iconic facade made famous in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - live long in the memory .
The Nabataeans built the Treasury - and most magnificent buildings of Petra - as sculptures, cut into the sandstone cliffs . It is this view of human creativity in this rugged environment that makes it remarkable Petra . Facades flowers in a unique mix of classic design Nabatean with Egyptian and Assyrian elements , always align the valley , creating a panorama of architectural splendor below the 1000 m high rocks.
To do this, you can add a persistent quality under-the- skin something supernatural . Elements of history facts, biblical stories, local legends and folk tales converge in Petra, in a cinematic context of hidden valleys , inaccessible peaks and ravines background.
Petra has many accommodation options. You can choose from luxurious accommodations to save money , both can be found next to or near the site. The nearest site hotels obviously provide the most convenient access to Petra and save you money from taxi. A car drive a short distance to Wadi Musa are several good hotels, with a bit on the ridge above Wadi Musa. Taybet Zeman, in the village of Taybeh 9 km ( 5 ½ miles) from Petra , is farthest from the site, but its authentic flavor is well worth the trip . All rooms have a private bathroom , unless otherwise indicated.
Dinner in the city near the site of antiques Petra -Wadi Musa - from simple dishes , inexpensive to elegant and expensive, with little in between. Both dining experiences , however, have one thing in common : a friendly staff and a welcoming spirit . Do not be put off by the simplicity of the village center restaurants mentioned here. The people enjoying their meals at the table next to remind you that the best price is often at these restaurants have unostentatious .