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Petra - A view from our expert author
One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the astonishing 2,000-year-old city of Petra was chiselled by hand with meticulous detail into the sheer, pink-hued rock face of the southern Jordanian mountains.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site in its entirety since 1985 and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Petra Archaeological Park (Al-Batra) is an astonishing 2,000-year-old city chiselled by hand with meticulous detail into the sheer, pink-hued rock face of the mountains towards southern Jordan. At its zenith there were probably thousands of buildings and an ingenious complex of dams and water channels. It is the legacy of the Nabateans, a highly creative and industrious dynasty that had immeasurable wealth and created one of the greatest survivors of the ancient world.
Petra is the stuff of legend. As the capital of the Nabatean empire, it was one of the most important cities in the ancient world, only to be later abandoned and lost hidden deep in the Wadi Araba mountains. Only a handful of Bedouins knew of its existence. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Petra was rediscovered by a young Swiss traveller, Johann Ludwing Burckhardt. You’ll find that nothing quite prepares you for your first visit. Its huge size, complexity and haunting beauty are such that will stagger even the most seasoned of travellers.