Petra, the Rose-Red City, is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and one of the world's most famous and spectacular historical sites. Petra was founded by the Nabataean Arab tribe in the 6th century BC and taxes imposed on trading caravans allowed them to build their rock-carved city surrounded by mountains. Construction continued after the Romans annexed the Nabataean Kingdom in AD 106 and, after it was conquered and occupied by Muslim Arabs and Crusaders, it was abandoned and became a mystical 'lost city'. Its exact location was unknown in the west until the Swiss explorer J.L. Burckhardt stumbled upon it in 1812. Today visitors followed the same path used by Burckhardt, through a kilometre long chasm known as the siq, the only entrance to the city. At the end of the siq lies the stunning sight of the Treasury, or Khazneh, a 40 metre tall facade carved into the mountain rock face. Inside the Hellenistic columns is a large plain square room, carved out of rock. The High Places are the mountain-top altars which offer spectacular views over Wadi Araba and the Negev Desert. Beyond the centre of Petra lies El Deir, the Monastery, with another superb facade built into the mountain rock. Other highlights include the three Royal Tombs, carved into the King's Wall, the Palace of the Pharaoh's Daughter and the Roman era theatre, with 8,000 seats carved from rock.
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Travel to Petra
Organised group tours: Click here to see 21 tours to Jordan which may include Petra.