began as a main stopping point for Nabataean and foreign traders.
These nomadic merchants
carried textiles, incense, spices,
ivory, and other precious goods grown or manufactured in Arabia, Asia,
and Africa. As the trade market grew, so did Petra.
Hauling heavy loads across the vast, barren deserts was hard and risky work. For a price, the Nabataeans provided shelter and water at
settlements along the trade routes. They also charged tolls to foreign traders for crossing into their territory. All the profits
helped pay for the Nabataean state, including the spectacular capital of Petra.
Trade brought more than wealth and exotic goods to Petra. As traders from around the world passed though Petra, they brought new
ideas and culture from places like Egypt, China, and Greece. Petra became more than a center of trade—it was also a cultural center
of the ancient world.