The ancient city of Petra , located deep in the mountains of southern Jordan, is an awe-inspiring monument to mankind’s ingenuity and craftmanship. The city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new seven wonders of the world, is situated in a basin and was carved out of the rose-red stone of the surrounding mountains. Built by the Nabateans as their capital city around 100 BC, the city was an important trading city that controlled the main commercial routes between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Archaeological evidence shows that its inhabitants were able to control the water supply by means of a series of dams and cisterns, and this allowed the city to thrive in the harsh desert environment.
The approach to the city is through a spectacular red sandstone gorge that, in some parts, is only a few meters wide. Just before the end of the gorge (the Siq), the split in the rocks provides an unforgettable preview of the city’s most astounding monument: the Treasury. Past the Treasury, the gorge opens out into a broad plain where other buildings including the amphitheatre, all hewn from the rockface, are located. An easy climb up a hill brings visitors to the city’s largest building: the Monastery, another stunning architectural masterpiece.
Petra has formed the backdrop for many films, including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; a tribute to its mystery and charm that continues to captivate visitors right to this day.
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