UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Petra

Located nearly 100 miles south of the Jordanian capital city of Amman, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Petra stands as a half-built, half-carved into rock, archaeological site. Situated between the Dead and Red Seas, Petra has been inhabited since prehistoric times and served as a major caravan center for the incense of Arabia, the silks of China and the spices of India, a crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia.

The ruins of Petra are surrounded by sandstone cliffs and mountains riddled with passages, tunnels, and gorges.  Petra is an important architectural-archaeological site, featuring temples, churches and other buildings and a vast network of cisterns and reservoirs.  The rock-cut tombs include the Khasneh, Um, Palace, and Corinthian Tombs and the Deir monastery.

Petra prospered as a trade center under the Nabateans for centuries leading up to the second century of the common era when the Romans defeated the Nabateans and took control of Petra.  The city would continue to prosper until trade routes changed and a significant earthquake occurred in the middle of the 6th century.  The city would go virtually unknown to the Western world from the Crusades until it was rediscovered by the Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812.

Today Petra is one of the world’s richest and largest archaeological sites.  It was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985 and in 2007 was named as one of the “New” Seven Wonders of the World.  Petra and its surrounding desert areas have been featured in Hollywood blockbusters including the Indiana Jones and Star Wars franchises.

All images ©Riccardo Carotti / Universal Images Group



Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Petra”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 24 Oct. 2022 https://www.britannica.com/place/Petra-ancient-city-Jordan. Accessed 17 March 2023

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