Petra: Jordan

Petra: Jordan   Facebook share

Petra is a historical and archaeological city in the southern Jordanian governorate of Ma'an that is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system. Another name for Petra is the Rose City due to the color of the stone out of which it is carved.

Established possibly as early as 312 BCE as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan, as well as Jordan's most-visited tourist attraction. It lies on the slope of Jebel al-Madhbah (identified by some as the biblical Mount Hor) in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It is believed that Petra was home to roughly 30,000 people and was abandoned in the year 106 A.D. The reasons for the abandonment of Petra still remain unknown today. Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was introduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. It was described as "a rose-red city half as old as time" in a Newdigate Prize-winning poem by John William Burgon. UNESCO has described it as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage". Petra was named amongst the New7Wonders of the World in 2007 and was also chosen by the Smithsonian Magazine as one of the "28 Places to See Before You Die".

Some of the earliest recorded farmers settled in Beidha, a pre-pottery settlement just north of Petra, by 7000 BCE. Petra is listed in Egyptian campaign accounts and the Amarna letters as Pel, Sela or Seir. Though the city was founded relatively late, a sanctuary has existed there since very ancient times. Stations 19 through 26 of the stations list of Exodus are places associated with Petra. This part of the country was biblically assigned to the Horites, the predecessors of the Edomites. The habits of the original natives may have influenced the Nabataean custom of burying the dead and offering worship in half-excavated caves. Although Petra is usually identified with Sela, which means a rock, the Biblical references refer to it as "the cleft in the rock", referring to its entrance. In the parallel passage, however, Sela is understood to mean simply "the rock".

Josephus, Eusebius and Jerome assert that Rekem was the native name, and this name appears in the Dead Sea Scrolls as a prominent Edomite site most closely describing Petra, and associated with Mount Seir. But in the Aramaic versions, Rekem is the name of Kadesh, implying that Josephus may have confused the two places. The Semitic name of the city, if not Sela, remains unknown. The passage in Diodorus Siculus (xix. 94–97) which describes the expeditions which Antigonus sent against the Nabataeans in 312 BCE is understood to throw some light upon the history of Petra, but the "petra" referred to as a natural fortress and place of refuge cannot be a proper name and the description implies that the town was not yet in existence.

The Rekem Inscription before it was buried by the bridge abutments.

The name "Rekem" was inscribed in the rock wall of the Wadi Musa opposite the entrance to the Siq, but about twenty years ago[timeframe?], Jordan built a bridge over the wadi and this inscription was buried beneath tons of concrete.[citation needed]

More satisfactory evidence of the date of the earliest Nabataean settlement may be obtained from an examination of the tombs. Two types of tombs have been distinguished: the Nabataean and the Greco-Roman. The Nabataean type starts from the simple pylon-tomb with a door set in a tower crowned by a parapet ornament, in imitation of the front of a dwelling-house. Then, after passing through various stages, the full Nabataean type is reached, retaining all the native features and at the same time exhibiting characteristics which are partly Egyptian and partly Greek. Of this type close parallels exist in the tomb-towers at Mada'in Saleh in north Arabia, which bear long Nabataean inscriptions and supply a date for the corresponding monuments at Petra. Then comes a series of tombfronts which terminate in a semicircular arch, a feature derived from north Syria. Finally come the elaborate façades copied from the front of a Roman temple; however, all traces of native style have vanished. The exact dates of the stages in this development cannot be fixed. Few inscriptions of any length have been found at Petra, perhaps because they have perished with the stucco or cement which was used upon many of the buildings. The simple pylon-tombs which belong to the pre-Hellenic age serve as evidence for the earliest period. It is not known how far back in this stage the Nabataean settlement goes, but it does not go back farther than the 6th century BCE. A period follows in which the dominant civilization combines Greek, Egyptian and Syrian elements, clearly pointing to the age of the Ptolemies. Towards the close of the 2nd century BCE, when the Ptolemaic and Seleucid kingdoms were equally depressed, the Nabataean kingdom came to the front. Under Aretas III Philhellene, (c.85–60 BCE), the royal coins begin. The theatre was probably excavated at that time, and Petra must have assumed the aspect of a Hellenistic city. In the reign of Aretas IV Philopatris, (9 BCE–40 CE), the tombs of the el-I~ejr[clarification needed] type may be dated, and perhaps also the High-place.

 



More Suggestion :
Machu-Picchu.jpg

Machu Picchu: Peru

Machu Picchu (in hispanicized spelling, Spanish pronunciation:) or Machu Pikchu (Quechua machu o...

great-wall-of-china.jpg

Great Wall of China: China

 The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, ...

westminster-abbey.jpg

Westminster Abbey, London, England

 Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is a ...

Rameshwaram.jpg

Rameshwar Jyotirlinga Tamil Nadu

 Ramanathaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to god Shiva located on Rameswaram islan...

taj.jpg

Taj Mahal: Agra, India

The Taj Mahal is a white marble mausoleum located on the southern bank of Yamuna River in the In...


Loading comments....

Login


Or sign in using your email address.
 *  *
Login   Register
Join Today

Google+

Or sign up using your email address.
 *  *  *    *
Create Account   Login
Join and get rewarded
Like & Share our facebook page & Register here and win chance of winning exciting prizes.
Click here to go to Facebook Page Close