Petra located 170 miles from Amman Jordan, is a UNESCO World Heritage sites and considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, is without question Jordan's most valuable tourist attraction and treasure. An amazing city, carved into the sheer rock by the Nabataeans, an Arab civilization who settled in Petra more then 2000 years ago, making it an important trade route that linked Asia in to the Middle East, and on to Greece and Rome.
Although there has been much said about Petra, nothing really prepares you for this stunning place. You must see it to believe it, and it is a convenient must see when visiting the holyland, since a one, two, three day excursions is very easily accessible from Israel. The entrance to Petra is through the Siq, a gorge, over 1 km long, flanked on each side by huge 80 meter high cliffs. Just walking into Petra will dazzle your senses. As you get to the end of the Siq you'll have your first sight of the Treasury, Al-Khazneh.
The Treasury, is simply awe-inspiring, a massive facade, 30 meters wide, 43 meters high, dwarfing everything by it, carved out of sheer dusk pink rock facade. It was constructed in the early 1st century for a Nabataean King's tomb. The building represents advanced engineering genius from the ancient Nabataeans.
This building, is only one of many wonders that make up Petra Archaeological Park. There are hundreds of tombs cut from the rock. Here you'll also find a massive Roman-style theater built by the Nabataeans, that seats more than 3,000 people. You'll also explore temples, obelisks, sacrificial altars, colonnaded streets, and 800 rock cut steps above, overlooking the Petra valley, you'll be impressed by the Ad-Deir monastery.
The Edomites ruled over the land of Petra, whom descended from Esau. Israel and Edom were continuasly at odds, begining with Edom's denying Moses and the people of Israel in Exodus passage through their land (Numbers 20:18-21). King Saul and King David both fought against the Edomites (1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 8:13-14).
During the reign of King Jehoshaphat, Edom attacked Judah and was pushed back (2 Chronicles 20). King Amaziah also fought against Edom, and took control of Petra, renaming Petra “Joktheel” (2 Kings 14:7).
When the Babylon King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC, the Edomites helped the enemy (Psalm 137:7). Because of this, they were condemned by the prophets Obadiah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah (Isaiah 34:5-8; Jeremiah 49:16-18).
For centuries to follow, Petra seemed secure in its fortress in the Siq, however today its ruins lie uninhabited, fulfilling the prophetic word: “‘As Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown, along with their neighboring towns,’ says the LORD, ‘so no one will live there; no people will dwell in it’” (Jeremiah 49:18).
Many traveling to the Holy Land today are familiar with the siq and Treasury building of Petra, being featured in such films as Indiana Jones and the Crusade, and Transformers, Revenge of the Fallen, and because it's an easy Israel tour extension, it has become one of the more popular excursions from Israel today.