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Petra

OLogy Series
place
card
223

Petra

OLogy Series
place

Two thousand years ago, Petra was a center of trade and culture in the ancient world. The dazzling city in the desert was built as the capital of the Nabataean kingdom. Petra prospered for centuries, even after it was taken over by the Roman empire. Over time, the city became less and less important. In the 1800s, Petra was "rediscovered" by Western explorers. It became one of the most famous ancient sites in the world.

Petra was a center for trade, and many goods traveled through Petra like marble from the Mediterranian and ivory from:

Canada

France

India

Are you right?

Correct!

Many of these goods ended up in Nabataean households. Trade brought contact with other cultures. This led to new ideas about art, architecture, religion, and language.

In AD 363, half of Petra's monuments, buildings, and water supply systems were destroyed by:

an earthquake

a tornado

a tidal wave

Are you right?

Correct!

Archaeologists estimate that half the city was destroyed, damaging Petra's major monuments, homes, and worst of all, the water supply system. Despite this setback, Petra remained an important city in the East, even after the Roman empire fell in the West.

There was a large pool and a lush garden in the middle of Petra.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Petra was an oasis in the desert, with an impressive system of channels and pipes that carried water to the city from nearby springs. This water was stored in reservoirs.

“Petra” is a Greek work meaning “brown flower.”

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Petra means “rock,” a fitting name since the city was built in a rocky desert valley with steep sandstone and limestone cliffs.

What: capital of the Nabataean kingdom
Where: southwest Jordan in the Middle East
Began: fourth century BC
Ended: seventh century AD
Population: around 20,000 at its height
Known for: commercial center of the ancient world

Image credits: courtesy of Jordan Tourism Board North America.