Petra, the city of stone

Petra history dates back to the 3rd century BC, as the capital of the Nabataeans, who managed to stay, as such, until the 1st century ad The city was part of the important network of trade routes of the caravans carrying incense, precious metals, aromatic herbs and bitumen from the Mediterranean Sea, as the Greek historian Diodorus of Sicily left already written in the 1st century BC
Despite the attempts that are being made, through archaeological excavations, to expose the history of this town, still it is impossible to establish a uniform thread.
In August 1812, during a Middle East tour, the Swiss Johann Ludwig Burckhardt (1784-1817) (picture) learned by the mouth of a pilgrim close to where he was talking a city carved into the rock.
With a pretext any got the Bedouins drove it up there, and this was how he discovered the city of Petra in a Gorge of 1,200 meters in length and 100 metres in some sections. Until that time, Europeans believed that Petra was only a legend.

Rock City:

The oldest findings indicate that man inhabited the Siq Gorge (in Arabic means, throat, Gorge) already in the Neolithic period. The origins of the city of Petra, located in the current Jordan, go back to the tribe of the edomites, sworn enemies of Israel, who settled in this place.
The edomites were Petra one of most major shopping centers in the Middle East. However, much di buildings carved into the rock were the work of the Nabataeans, or at least acquired its present form thanks to them, as the treasure of the Pharaoh (Khazne al - Firaun), originally a cave tomb, the Roman Theatre, with a capacity of 5. 00f locations, the center of the city, with its Avenue with Colonnade, and other rock-hewn tombs suggesting that Petra was first a city funeral and I was subsequently extended. The Nabateans fell under domination in 106 A.d.
The city of Petra, in Jordan, despite keeping hidden more than seventy-five per cent of its buildings, has managed to arouse the enthusiasm of everyone from the year 1812, when Johann Ludwig Burckhardt identified it as such. To reach the city of Petra, it is necessary to walk the siq, a narrow gorge that winds between mountainous walls. At the exit of the passageway, the first thing the visitor sees is the facade, basically Greek, of the Jazna, a «appearance» so incongruous in the middle of the mountains of the desert that seems abandoned by a film team decor. After its discovery in 1812, different browsers revealed to the world the splendors of Petra. In 1826, two French - count Leon de Laborde and the engineer Maurice Linaut - plotted drawings of the city, following a romantic but realistic.
The region and its capital Bostra, were annexed to the Roman Empire and Petra lost its prominence. Large parts of the city of stone were destroyed by two earthquakes in the years 363 and 551, and its inhabitants were abandoning it.
It is almost certain that the city was already virtually uninhabited when the region was conquered by the Arabs in the year 663. After the medieval Crusades, Europe forgot to Petra, and eventually the city was becoming legend, until its rediscovery. Excavations did not start just the Decade of 1920, and more or less at the same time opened the city to tourism.

Who were the inhabitants of Petra?

The Nabataeans, a tribe of extraordinarily skillful pastoralists, developed Petra in the center of his empire for more than two thousand years. They came to the Northwest of Arabia and from the 5th century BC, during a period of 600 years, extended his dominions to the North, reaching Damascus. Before the invasion of the Nabataeans a site existed Edomite - Edom, which means red, was the biblical name of this region - but those were who dug in the Rock City. In addition, they developed a unique architectural style, a delicate ceramic and feature and a magnificent irrigation system, fundamental to the story and the prosperity of the city.
Strategically located at a crossroads of ancient trade routes, Petra was home to numerous merchants who road goods from the Mediterranean, Egypt, Damascus and Saudi. The Nabateans controlled the caravan routes and became rich and prosperous with Petra as nearly impregnable base. The rock was of vital importance, and therefore it is not surprising that their main God, Dusares, it was symbolized in stone blocks and obelisks, which can be found in the siq and the entire city, which would later acquire the name of Petra, «stone».
In the centuries immediately before and after the birth of Christ, the Nabateans lived the period of maximum splendor, Petra accounting for a population of some 20,000 people. Occasionally, they had to defend themselves from attacks by its neighbors, especially the Romans of the North, which already in 63 BC had tried to conquer Petra. These definitely got it in 106 ad, date in which Petra, apparently without litigation, became part of the Roman province of Arabia.
The Nabataean dynasty had become extinct, and the population coexisted with the Romans during more than one century. During this time, Petra continued to thrive, and the Romans built the theatre and the Colonnade. When Petra became part of the Christian Byzantine Empire in the 4th century, the tomb of the URN was converted into Church, and the city, in the seat of a bishopric. But with the establishment of the Muslim era in vn century, began to ignore the fate of Petra, with the exception of a brief stay of the Crusaders, who built a simple castle atop a hill to the West of the city.
PETRA tourism:Among its wonders we can meet with the siq or passage that leads to the city of the Nabataeans, passage that popular cinema in films such as Indiana Jones and his famous "Last Crusade" hidden. Once inside it is surprising the colossal City designed with Hellenic manifestations, which is not surprising if we understand that the Nabataean people, still being of Arab origin, left influence of full form by the Greek architectural and sculptural style.
The facade of the temple is a good sample of what was said. But even in 106 B.c. the city was conquered by the Roman Empire, being able to visit Petra the spectacular Roman Theatre, with a capacity for more than 3000 spectators, or several Roman roads whose ruins remain quite well preserved. Visit to Petra leads the visit to his treasure, the Propileum and the monastery where we will find again marked Greek influences. In the interior of the city we will contemplate the beautiful decoration of the tombs, the gateways to the different rooms, and columns carved in the stone and the excavation area will visit the high and low Temenos, and the niche of the Exedra.

Logic or mystery?

The city of Petra was built in a long Gorge surely for strategic reasons. However, to conquer a city situated in a place of such it is enough to take control of the surrounding cliffs, provided that the buildings are in the throat. But the builders of Petra were smarter and put houses in the interior walls.
In this way they acquired a great advantage, because the enemy no longer could attack without more buildings and much less evaluate the combative strength and resistance from its inhabitants. Also had some building in the Gorge, but it was mostly stores hardly offered any clues about the armament and the number of inhabitants. To conquer Petra, it was necessary to withdraw from their own defence and assault the Gorge without protection. Too much risk for many enemies, as demonstrated on several occasions.
The legendary character who had Petra in Europe for a long time contributed to popularize certain myths and events about this place that have survived until our days, especially during the 19th century, when non-Muslims were not allowed to visit the city. But, in reality, it is an antediluvian city nor has an enigmatic origin.

Myths and legends:

In the 19th century is report the news of the rediscovery of the city of Petra although they only prune to visit her Muslim. That prompted the emergence of macabre rumours about the permanence in the interior of the stone houses of the remains of the Crusaders who were in the city.
In addition, some stories made reference to the so-called biblical origin of Petra, according to which Moses did well water from a stone in this play to cater to the Jewish people a rumor that ran in the 19th century claimed that the water was poisoned and only knew it Muslims other stories about the atrocities committed against Christians in the isolated: City of stone by partly living and partly dead creatures and the great tesares that they should be hidden in passageways labyrinthine underground gave rise to fame of Petra city disturbing and fascinating yet.

Article translated for educational purposes from: Planeta Sedna 

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