More Than A Wonder!
The ancient city of Petra is a breathtaking national treasure of Jordan that is widely known as its most famous tourist attraction. It is an enduring legacy of the Nabataeans, a hardworking Arab people who settled in the southern part of Jordan more than 2,000 years ago. This spectacular city has earned its reputation for its refined culture, enormous architecture, and ingenious network of dams and water channels. Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
The Nabataeans, Edomites, and Romans inhabited Petra, and this fusion of civilizations resulted in the creation of this world wonder. Caravans that were heavily laden with exotic goods such as incense, silks, and spices would rest at Petra, making it an important hub for trade.
One fascinating location to visit is Little Petra or “Beidah,” which is a Neolithic site that dates back to 7200BC to 6500BC, making it one of the first settled villages in human history. It is believed that during this period, hunters and gatherers lived seasonally in this fertile and sheltered area. The village was rebuilt after it burned down, and remnants of the houses and a retaining wall are still visible today. Beidha Neolithic site is located within the protected area of the Petra Archaeological Park and is one of the oldest settlements in Jordan. It is a significant historical location that offers a glimpse into the transition from semi-settled nomads to settled villagers and the start of an agrarian economy.
In the Neolithic period, between 8,330 and 7,000 B.C., a permanent village of farmers occupied Beidha, and the practice of agriculture and the herding of domesticated goats and sheep began. Many of the concepts and practices that we use today in agrarian societies originated from small settlements such as these. The settlers lived in round houses that were easy to construct, but they had a significant drawback – it was difficult to add a room to a round structure. The struggle for a solution is visible in the remains of the houses at Beidha.
For those interested in learning more about Petra, the Petra Museum is an excellent place to visit. Located on the main tourist street and only a three-minute walk from the main gate to Petra, the museum contains 280 artifacts dating back to different ages. The exhibition consists of five halls showcasing the history of Petra and information about the Nabatean’s life and civilization.
Petra by Night is an unforgettable experience that allows visitors to witness the breathtaking beauty of Petra at night by the light of 1,800 candles. Walking through the Siq to the Treasury (Al-Khazneh) following a candle-lit path while enjoying the haunting music of the Bedouins at the Treasury is truly out-of-this-world. Tours start at 8.30pm and finish at 10.00pm every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so visitors should allow plenty of time to walk through the Siq to avoid missing the show. Visiting Petra during the day is awe-inspiring, but Petra by Night takes it to a whole new level.