Pictures of Petra, Jordan   Jordan ROSE-RED PETRA
Pictures of ancient Petra, cut into rugged hills in Jordan
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Picture of The Treasury at Petra, Jordan
Petra: A fabled city in the rock
The ancient city of Petra in Jordan is a stunning place.  This 2000 year old wonder deserves its overused description of 'a rose-red city half as old as time', taken from a poem by John William Burgon.  Petra was established by the pre-Roman Nabateans.  A remarkable feature is that many of the elaborate temples, tombs and other monuments were cut into solid, richly-colored rock.
Picture of The Monastery at Petra, Jordan
The Deir is the largest monument at Petra.  Misleadingly named The Monastery, it was probably a mausoleum for a dead king.  Like The Khazneh, this awesome edifice was carved out of the rock face.
Picture of The Treasury (Khazneh) at Petra, Jordan
The Khazneh (Treasury) bathed in candlelight at night
The rise and fall of Petra
The wealth of Petra grew because of the city's strategic position as a commercial crossroads on important trade routes.  As the city flourished from the second century BCE, its buildings became increasingly imposing.  Petra fell to the Romans in 106 CE and, although the city continued to thrive for a time, its importance later declined along with the caravan routes on which it depended.  Petra was eventually abandoned and fell into centuries of obscurity.
Nature's kaleidoscope
The natural colors and veining in the rock at Petra boast a matchless beauty
Rock colors at Petra Rock colors at Petra
Eroded facade at Petra
Photo of the Treasury (Khazneh) at Petra
The first glimpse of the sunlit edifice of The Khazneh as it comes into view, spectacularly, at the end of the narrow and shady Siq.
The Khazneh
Many monuments at Petra were hewn from rock among rugged hills that provide a stunning setting.  The easiest access is through a narrow gorge called the Siq that finally opens to reveal The Khazneh (Treasury).  This well-preserved edifice is the most fabled achievement of the Nabateans, and is one of the most elegant monuments of antiquity.  The Khazneh was built when the Nabatean culture was at its artistic height - sometime in the last century BCE or the first century CE.
 
Picture of Petra
The purpose of the remarkable Khazneh is unclear, but it was probably a temple or a king's tomb.  The name Treasury was given later in the mistaken belief that it held hidden riches.
 
Picture of the Treasury (Khazneh)
A spectacular viewpoint.  Seen from high above the Siq, visitors are dwarfed by the dimensions of The Khazneh and the surrounding rock faces at Petra.
 
Petra impresses by its sheer scale.  Not just the area over which the remains of the city extend, but by the unexpected size of the surviving facades.  Photos can not do justice to the dimensions of monuments such as The Deir and The Khazneh, and we can only wonder at the human endeavors that allowed these towering and imposing edifices to be carved into the rocks.
 
Victims of time and weather
Many of the more exposed monuments at Petra have suffered through centuries of exposure to wind, water and desert sand.
Picture of tomb at Petra
The Corinthian Tomb has suffered through years of erosion.
Photo of Petra
A weather-worn Petra facade cut into beautiful pink and orange stone.
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