ology logo
A Walk Through the Ruins of Petra title
A Walk Through the Ruins of Petra
As you enter Petra, a shadowy canyon opens up to a majestic monument.

As you enter Petra, a shadowy canyon opens up to a majestic monument.

Local people have long known about the ruins of an ancient city called Petra, hidden deep within the desert of modern-day Jordan. Stories tell of a powerful and wealthy city that once bustled with life. It was full of lush gardens, ornate houses, and markets loaded with exotic goods. 

In the early 1800s, western explorers came across the remains of this lost civilization. They found spectacular structures carved into cliffs, elaborate sculptures and statues, intricate pottery and jewelry, and much more. And today, Petra is one of the world's most famous archaeological sites. Still, only five percent of the city has been uncovered, and many mysteries remain.

What do the ruins tell us about the Nabataeans who once lived in this thriving city more than 2,000 years ago? And what was life like back then?

Take a walk through the ruins to find out! (Click the site markers on the map to learn more!)

petra region watercolor
Image Credits:

Photos: Looking at the Treasury through the Siq: courtesy of Faraheed via wikimedia commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0); The Great Temple: courtesy of Jane Taylor, http://www.janetaylorphotos.com; Elephant Headed Column: Dan Gibson, http://nabataea.net; Garden Pool Complex: courtesy of Leigh-Ann Bedal; Water pipe: Dan Gibson, http://nabataea.net Siq: courtesy of Jane Taylor, http://www.janetaylorphotos.com; Camel relief: Andrew F. Blumenthal; Temple of the Winged Lions: courtesy of Jane Taylor, http://www.janetaylorphotos.com; Eye Idol: courtesy of AMNH; Egyptian statuette: courtesy of AMNH; Colonnaded Street: courtesy of Jane Taylor, http://www.janetaylorphotos.com Coin: Travis A. Markel / Classical Numismatic Group; Decorated incense altar: courtesy of AMNH; Qasr al Bint: courtesy of Jane Taylor, http://www.janetaylorphotos.com; Child's ring: courtesy of AMNH Panel of Melpomene: courtesy of AMNH; Royal tombs: courtesy of Jane Taylor, http://www.janetaylorphotos.com; Stone inscriptions: courtesy of AMNH; Petra Church: courtesy of J. Wilson Myers and Eleanor E. Myers; Scrolls: courtesy of AMNH; Wall mosaic tiles: courtesy of AMNH; Wall mosaic tiles: courtesy of Andrew F. Blumenthal; Column close-up: courtesy of Jane Taylor, http://www.janetaylorphotos.com; Steps: courtesy of Jordan Tourism Board North America; Ez-Zantur (house): courtesy Jane Taylor, http://www.janetaylorphotos.com; Pottery: courtesy of AMNH; Jewelry - bracelet: courtesy of AMNH; Theater: courtesy of Jane Taylor, http://www.janetaylorphotos.com; Tragic mask: courtesy of AMNH;  Illustration of Petra: Tony Morse