Petra: the lost city
The lost city of Petra
Did you know that Petra is called the lost city? The famous archaeological site in Jordan was once a rich trading city, but after its decline it was completely abandoned and fell into oblivion, making it a lost city.
In the 7th century AD. Petra was a thriving city dedicated to economic exchanges inhabited first by the Edomites and then by the Nabatai who subsequently abandoned it permanently following the decline of trade in the area and various natural disasters.
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After several centuries in which the city of Petra remained abandoned and hidden in the arid plateau of Jordan, it was rediscovered in 1812 thanks to Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, a well-known Swiss explorer not new to such exploits.
Burckhardt in fact, during his short but intense life, explored much of the Middle East, making the Western world discover numerous testimonies of the past in countries such as Syria, Egypt and obviously Jordan.
History and curiosities about Petra
From the moment of its discovery, Petra has become so famous that it has recently earned the title of among the 7 Wonders of the Modern World and is considered an UNESCO World Heritage Site!
The timeless charm of the lost city has captured the attention of several directors who have wanted Petra as a film set for some films including the very famous Indiana Jones and the last crusade directed by Steven Spielberg.
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Petra was a real city which, at the peak of its size, had about 25,000 inhabitants in an area of 264,000 square meters. Houses, tombs and monuments were entirely carved out from the particularly resistant and easily excavated local sandstone rock.
The particular geological conformation that characterizes Petra combined with the outstanding engineering skills of its inhabitants, have made their buildings very long-lived and is the reason why we can still admire hundreds of tombs and monuments almost intact today despite the natural events that hit the area.
The Treasury of Petra and the Monastery
The most famous tomb but also the best preserved is "the Treasury" of Petra, an imposing facade about 40 meters high and carved into the rock located right at the entrance of the city as if to welcome the thousands of tourists who flock to the most important archaeological site in Jordan every year.
To reach this magnificent attraction it is necessary to take the Siq, a sandy path of about 1.5 km through a narrow canyon. The Treasury can be seen a few tens of meters before the end of the Siq until it is fully revealed in all its beauty.
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Although the Treasury is the best preserved and best known monument in Petra, the largest is the Monastery, an imposing structure carved into the rock that satisfies any visitor who is able to tackle the hundreds of steps to climb necessary to reach it.
Among the many constructions carved into the rock, in addition to tombs and houses, there are several places dedicated to free time such as the Roman theater that could hold up to 3000 people, temples and even spas to relax.
Petra by night
One of the must-do experiences if you visit the lost city is to see Petra at night and more precisely to admire the magnificent spectacle that takes place at the foot of the Treasury on some days of the week.
To admire Petra by night you walk along the Siq illuminated by numerous candles that lead up to its majesty "the Treasury" also illuminated by hundreds of candles that make the magical and mysterious atmosphere.
Sitting in respectful silence in front of him, we await the start of the show in which a particular music accompanies a voice that tells the glorious past of Petra which, from a rich and prosperous city, touches the bottom until it is forgotten and then flourishes again and becomes one of the 7 wonders of the world!
My impression about Petra:
Needless to say how exciting it is to admire one of the 7 wonders of the world, but what struck me most about Petra is that you have to earn the thrill by crossing the Siq that leads to the Treasury.
A long walk just enough to be faced by everyone and to grow that feeling that accompanies the wait and which is rewarded with the amazement of seeing the Treasure in all its beauty reveal itself after a corner at the end of the Siq. An emotion that left me breathless comparable only to Petra by night.
Have you ever been to Petra?
Tell your experience in the comments or ask me a question.
Must see places in Petra:
- The Treasury of Petra
The Treasury is Petra's main attraction, the best preserved and most accessible monument and consequently the most visited
- The Al-Deir Monastery
Al-Deir Monastery, although less famous than the Treasury, is certainly the most majestic of the monuments carved into the rock in Petra
- Roman amphitheater
The Roman amphitheater in Petra welcomed thousands of people to attend the many shows
Must see places near Petra:
- Little Petra (14 Km/8,7 mi)
Little Petra has the same characteristics as her older sister but in a smaller and more intimate context
- Castle of Shobak (25 Km/15,5 mi)
Shobak Castle is one of the most important Crusader castles in Jordan
- Wadi Rum desert (113 Km/70 mi)
The Wadi Rum desert is one of the most spectacular in the world and has also been the set of several films