Petra is famous for having many stone structures carved into the rock. It was famously described as "a rose-red city half as old as time".
Location: Petra, Jordan. Petra (from the Latin word 'petrae', meaning 'rock') lies in a great rift valley east of Arabah (Wadi 'Araba) in
On the edge of the Arabian Desert, Petra was the glittering capital of the Nabataean empire of King Aretas IV (9 B.C. to 40 A.D.). Petra was first established sometime around the 6th century BC, by the Nabataean Arabs, a nomadic tribe who settled in the area and laid the foundations of a commercial empire that extended into Syria. Despite successive attempts by the Seleucid king Antigonus, the Roman emperor Pompey and Herod the Great to bring Petra under the control of their respective empires, Petra remained largely in Nabataean hands until around 100AD, when the Romans took over. It was still inhabited during the Byzantine period, when the former Roman empire moved its focus east to Constantinople, but declined in importance thereafter. The Crusaders constructed a fort there in the 12th century, but soon withdrew, leaving Petra to the local people. Petra's decline came rapidly under Roman rule, in large part due to the revision of sea-based trade routes. In 363 an earthquake destroyed buildings and crippled the vital water management system. The ruins of Petra were an object of curiosity in the Middle Ages and were visited by the Sultan Baibars of Egypt towards the close of the 13th century. The long-hidden site was revealed to the Western world by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812.
Masters of water technology, the Nabataeans provided their city with great tunnel constructions and water chambers. A theater, modelled on Greek-Roman prototypes, had space for an audience of 8,000.
Today, the Palace Tombs of Petra, with the 42-meter-high Hellenistic temple facade on the El-Deir Monastery, are impressive examples of Middle Eastern culture.
Built in: Al Khazneh was originally built as a royal tomb, probably between 100 BCE and 200 BCE .
The name Khazneh, which means 'treasury' comes from the legend that it was used as a hiding place for treasure. In practice, it seems to have been something between a temple and a tomb, possibly both at once. Behind the impressive facade, a large square room has been carved out of the rock of the cliff. The corners and walls have been squared off meticulously, but no attempt has been made to extend the excavations further or to reproduce the kind of ornate carving of the exterior. This is typical of the tombs in Petra; the interiors are as plain as the exteriors are intricate. From inside, you can look out through the doorway towards the Siq.
The Khazneh faces onto a large open space, floored with soft sand and surrounded by high walls. Surrounding the open space dominated by the Khazneh are other tombs and halls mostly little more than man-made caves carved out from the rock. To the right, the path continues between more widely-spaced rock walls studded with smaller tombs, which are visible as black holes in the rock. A little further on, on the left is the giant semicircle of the amphitheatre (see pic above). Behind it, the rock wall is pitted with tombs. Close to the theatre, a flight of steps marks the start of the climb towards the High Palace of Sacrifice, while continuing towards the right, the wadi widens out. Ahead lies the centre of the city, while following the cliff face further to the right takes one to the Royal Tombs (see pic above).