Petra was carved into the reddish rock by the Nabataeans
, ancient Arabs who turned the city into a junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes.
Roughly 2,500 years ago, Nabataean
nomads decided to settle down in what's now known as Petra, most likely when they found the place was easy to defend, thanks to a labyrinth of steep canyon walls, and was blessed with lots of water.
From historical books, it's also known that Cleopatra leased the rights to the Dead Sea salt and mineral industries back to the Nabataeans
, for 200 silver talents a year.
As in Petra, the Nabataeans
established themselves here and if you know the area it is possible to see inscriptions scratched into the rock face, depicting camel caravans, hunters and various animals.
There are any number of communities who have settled, conquered, ruled, traded and moved through its lands over the years including the Canaanites, Philistines, Samaritans, Nabataeans
, Greeks, and Romans.
Syria was occupied successively by Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews, Arameans, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Nabataeans
, Byzantines, and, in part, Crusaders before finally coming under the control of the Ottoman Turks.
Craning to see between the towering cliffs of its runway, the one-mile long Siq, desperate to catch that first sighting of the ancient home of the Nabataeans
, it seemed to take forever.
, the ancient people who built the city, chiseled many of the buildings right out of the sandstone walls.
, desert nomads who built this city, were a people whose success we might hope to emulate.
Chapters cover the origins of the Nabataeans
; the emergence of their kingdom; relations with Egypt, Syria and Judaea; Nabataean
history from independence to Roman annexation; the development of the city of Petra; Nabataean
gods and places of worship; the Nabataean
script and carved inscriptions; the life of a Nabataean
woman named Babatha; and the Nabataeans
in the early Christian and Byzantine era.
The people of Petra, known as the Nabataeans
, constructed hundreds of carved-rock tombs and temples, more than 3,000 of which have been recorded to date.
Petra is a 2,000-year-old city carved into a red sandstone valley by the Nabataeans
, a tribe that originated in Western Arabia.