Jordan

Petra: A Story of Water and Trade

Petra is the story of water and trade. It was constructed in the 1st century BCE by the Nabateans who likely migrated to the area from modern day Yemen. They were skilled hydrologists and made their fortune trading bitumen mined from the Dead Sea to Egypt. They also established and provided protection along the main trade route through the Arab peninsula, a service for which they charged 10% of the cargo – mostly frankincense and myrrh which at the time was worth its weight in gold. To protect their wealth and their people, the Nabateans carved their city out of the sandstone rocks in modern day Jordan.

The Siq is the name of the slot canyon leading into Petra. It was the only entrance into the city.
The Siq is the name of the slot canyon leading into Petra. It was the only entrance into the city.
A sliver of the Treasury Building suddenly appears.
A sliver of the Treasury Building suddenly appears.
The facade of the "Treasury Building" is massive and intricately carved.
The facade of the "Treasury Building" is massive and intricately carved.
Details on the facade have been magnificently preserved. These are the holes used to hold the scaffolding used during its construction 2000 years ago.
Details on the facade have been magnificently preserved. These are the holes used to hold the scaffolding used during its construction 2000 years ago.
The Treasury is only one of thousands of dwellings in Petra, most of which have yet to be excavated.
The Treasury is only one of thousands of dwellings in Petra, most of which have yet to be excavated.
The Bedouins lived in Petra for 200 years until the Jordanian government moved them out in the late 80's. They now work in the tourism industry and continue to adhere to many old customs, but are not immune to outside influence.
The Bedouins lived in Petra for 200 years until the Jordanian government moved them out in the late 80's. They now work in the tourism industry and continue to adhere to many old customs, but are not immune to outside influence.