Woohoo! I’m tracing the footsteps of Indiana Jones! Well, not exactly. But I am right where a lot of scenes from the blockbuster movie were shot. That’s right, I’m in Petra, Jordan, a city that was lost to the world for several centuries!
Where is Petra located?
Carved into the warm hued sandstones in the midst of desert canyons and mountains, the city of Petra was a capital city and thriving trading center of the Nabataean empire way back in 400 B.C. Centuries down the line, it fell to ruins and sat undiscovered and empty till the 1800s, when it was rediscovered by a Swiss explorer. In 1985, UNESCO declared Petra a world heritage site.
The History of Petra
Famous as it is, Petra is without any doubt the most important tourist junction of Jordan. And although much has been written about its beauty, words simply do not do justice to this rose tinted ancient city. The entrance to the city is through Siq, a narrow 1km long gorge, flanked on both sides by 80m high cliffs. At the end of the Siq lies the famed treasury, a small hall that was once used as a royal tomb. This chamber was the target of many a raider, who came in looking for valuables to loot.
What is Petra famous for?
The treasury is just one of the many archaeological wonders that Petra has to offer. Throughout the city, you will find many intricately carved and seriously well designed tombs and structures. There’s even a theatre that could easily seat 3000 people! And it has kept till today. Natural calamities like earthquakes destroyed the houses that once stood here, but the tombs, true to their purpose, are still intact.
This isn’t a city you can explore fully in a day. In addition to the many tombs are also two museums to explore and learn about the history of Petra. The Nabataeans were an industrious people who were excellent at building as well as trading. The ruins of their transport, irrigation and storage systems are proof of that.
According to archaeologists, to this date, only 15% of the city has been uncovered. The vast city is still majorly underground. It’s easy to see why these beautiful ruins inspire so much fiction. A must visit whether you’re an Indiana Jones buff or not!