The ancient city of Petra is one of the world’s most mysterious and captivating archaeological sites. Located in the south of Jordan, it was once the capital of the Nabataean kingdom, flourishing from the 6th century BC to the 1st century AD. Although it has been reduced to ruins, its remains still hold many secrets, some of which are still shrouded in mystery. Here are 7 secrets about Petra that no one will tell you.
1. It has an Ancient Water System
The ancient city of Petra was designed with an intricate water system that dates back to the 3rd century BC. This system was designed to allow the Nabataeans to collect and store water from wadis, or seasonal streams, that run through the mountains. The water was then channelled through an underground aqueduct system that supplied the city with fresh water. This sophisticated engineering was one of the reasons why the city was able to survive in the unforgiving desert climate.
2. The Treasury Was Not a Treasury
The Treasury, or Al Khazneh, is the most iconic and recognizable landmark in Petra. But contrary to popular belief, it was not a treasury, but rather a funerary monument. It was built sometime during the 1st century BC and is believed to have been used to house the tomb of a Nabataean king.
3. It is Home to Ancient Graffiti
Petra is home to hundreds of ancient graffiti, which provide a fascinating insight into the lives of the Nabataeans. Carved into the rocks, these graffiti depict a variety of everyday scenes and are believed to date back to the 2nd century AD.
4. Its Street Plan Remains a Mystery
The layout of the street plan in Petra is still largely a mystery. Although archaeologists have been able to identify some of the main streets, it is impossible to tell how the Nabataeans arranged the rest of the city. This is because the streets were not laid out in a grid pattern and the city’s expansion was determined by the availability of water.
5. It was Used as a Trading Hub
The city of Petra flourished as an important trading hub and was known for its production of spices, incense and perfumes. Merchants from all over the world would visit Petra to trade goods, and the city quickly became a centre of wealth and power.
6. It was a Major Religious Centre
As well as being a trading hub, Petra was also a major religious centre. The city was home to a number of temples and shrines dedicated to the gods and goddesses of the Nabataean pantheon. The most well-known of these is the Temple of Dushara, the chief god of the Nabataeans.
7. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
In 1985, Petra was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status, recognizing its significance as an archaeological site. This status has allowed the site to be preserved and protected from further damage, and it continues to be a major tourist attraction.
Petra is an incredible archaeological site with a history that stretches back thousands of years. Its secrets are still being uncovered and its mysteries still remain, but one thing is for sure—the ancient city of Petra is an unforgettable place to visit.