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The ancient city of Petra was literally carved from the sand stone cliffs of southern Jordan by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled here more than 2000 years ago. They built temples and tombs, houses and halls, altars and aqueducts. Petra was an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade route that linked China, India, and southern Arabic with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome.
At its peak, the city of Petra was home to some 20,000 Nabataeans who, in the midst of the desert, built an ingenious system of waterways to provide their city with the precious liquid. Entrance to the city is through a narrow gorge, which is flanked on either side by soaring, 80m high cliffs. The colors and formations of the rocks are dazzling. The treasury at Petra has a massive facade, carved out of the sheer, dusky pink rock face and dwarfing every thing around it. It was carved in the early 1st century as the tomb of an important Nabataean king, and represents the engineering genius of these ancient people.
Petra means 'rock' in Greek which is a fitting name for a town literally carved out of sandstone desert cliffs. It was unknown to the western world until it was discovered in the early 1800's. since then, clues to daily life in this ' lost city of stone, are being unearthed, and today we are beginning to see once again what Petra looked like 2000 years ago.