Influential Imports

Part of the Petra exhibition.

Incense, textiles, spices, ivory, and precious metals were some of the goods funneled through ancient Petra. Traveling far and wide, Nabataean traders visited many foreign communities and witnessed the exotic art and fine wares in their marketplaces. Goods moving through Petra clearly found their way into Nabataean homes.

Along with these commodities came a free exchange of culture and ideas. Hellenistic Greek customs, for example, were so widespread in the region that they permeated Petra's art, architecture, and worship. The Nabataeans wrote in their own language, but they also used Greek, and later Latin, for more formal documents. Additionally, Nabataea developed its own currency modeled after Greek coinage of the period.