Petra: Jordan’s Rose-Colored Treasure
Petra is a first century BC archeological Jordanian city best known for its rock-cut architecture and unique water supply system. The city was carved into the rose-colored rock of Jordan’s Jebel al-Madhbah mountain, which some believe to the biblical Mount Hor. Petra is Jordan’s most visited tourist attraction—largely due to its scenes in the 1989 film Indian Jones and the Last Crusade. Petra gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 1985, and the The Smithsonian included Petra in its list of 28 Places to See Before You Die, deeming it a “Portal to the Past.”
Archeological evidence suggests Petra was the capital city of the Nabataean Arabs, an ancient Semitic people whose “architectural genius” allowed them to construct Petra to control trade networks and access to water—even successfully creating an artificial oasis. Among the city’s most prominent architectural features is a Roman-style amphitheater large enough to seat 3,000 people, several tombs, temples, sacrificial altars, and colonnaded streets. After resisting takeover for hundreds of years the Nabataeans finally lost Petra to the Romans around 100AD. For a brief period in the 12th century The Crusaders used Petra as a fort, after which time it was abandoned until its 1812 rediscovery by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Today, Petra is considered Jordan’s “most valuable treasure,” and is visited by over 600,000 people every year.
Below are photos of Petra and a video clip of the Indiana Jones scenes filmed there:
(The Treasury or ‘Al-Khazneh,’ http://www.visitjordan.com/Portals/0/petra/img_treasury3.jpg)
(The Ad-Deir Monastery, http://www.visitjordan.com/Portals/0/petra/img_monastery3.jpg)
(The place of the high sacrifice,http://www.visitjordan.com/Portals/0/petra/img_high_sacrifice2.jpg)
Link to Youtube clip of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Petra scenes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7sQQg7MFNw