story of Petra begins with a group of Arabian nomads called the Nabataeans
(pronounced "Nab-a-tee-ans"). As nomads, they moved from place
to place, living off the land and herding camels, sheep, and goats.
Over time, their sharp survival skills and knowledge of the desert helped
the Nabataeans become
successful traders. They gained control of the important trade routes
that moved spices and incense from Arabia to Egypt and
the Mediterranean Sea.
We know that these nomadic merchants became very rich as desert traders, and slowly gave up their goatskin
tents to build the grand houses and monuments that became Petra. But it is a mystery why these people gave
up their nomadic life to settle down in one place.