Discover the Lost City of Petra

Journey through Jordan's mysterious ancient city of Petra.

Jan 7, 2011
  • What began as a gathering site for Nabataean traders, Petra soon evolved into an international hub of both culture and commerce. The Nabataeans’ keen knowledge of the desert and strategically placed settlements that provided water and shelter—which they shared with foreign traders in exchanges for toll fees and custom taxes—helped establish the city as an important crossroads of trade and allowed it to flourish.
  • After travelling through the 1.5-kilometre gorge known as the Siq, your first dramatic glimpse of Petra will be of the building known as the Treasury. Standing 40 metres high and carved out of solid rock, this awe-inspiring edifice was most likely built in the first century BC and is generally believed to have served as a royal tomb or temple rather than a treasury.
  • The Treasury’s façade is quite remarkable. You can’t help but marvel at the detail that went into the decoration of the columns of the two-level structure, and even though some of the sculptures are understandably weathered, the majesty of this once great city remains in ruins such as this.
  • Built high on the mountainside, the Urn Tomb was one of the Royal Tombs of Petra and thought to be the tomb of Nabataean King Malchus II. In the main chamber, you can see where the Byzantines built an altar when they converted the tomb into a church in the fifth century.
  • The unique colouring of the sandstone is perhaps one of the most intriguing visual elements of the ancient stone city. These tombs are a picture-perfect example of the way the colours seem to dance throughout the carved rock surfaces.
1/5
What began as a gathering site for Nabataean traders, Petra soon evolved into an international hub of both culture and commerce. The Nabataeans’ keen knowledge of the desert and strategically placed settlements that provided water and shelter—which they shared with foreign traders in exchanges for toll fees and custom taxes—helped establish the city as an important crossroads of trade and allowed it to flourish.
2/5
After travelling through the 1.5-kilometre gorge known as the Siq, your first dramatic glimpse of Petra will be of the building known as the Treasury. Standing 40 metres high and carved out of solid rock, this awe-inspiring edifice was most likely built in the first century BC and is generally believed to have served as a royal tomb or temple rather than a treasury.
3/5
The Treasury’s façade is quite remarkable. You can’t help but marvel at the detail that went into the decoration of the columns of the two-level structure, and even though some of the sculptures are understandably weathered, the majesty of this once great city remains in ruins such as this.
4/5
Built high on the mountainside, the Urn Tomb was one of the Royal Tombs of Petra and thought to be the tomb of Nabataean King Malchus II. In the main chamber, you can see where the Byzantines built an altar when they converted the tomb into a church in the fifth century.
5/5
The unique colouring of the sandstone is perhaps one of the most intriguing visual elements of the ancient stone city. These tombs are a picture-perfect example of the way the colours seem to dance throughout the carved rock surfaces.

A lost city, unmarked on modern maps and unseen by outsiders for more than 500 years, Petra’s re-discovery in the 19th century fuelled much wonder and excitement about the city’s ancient past. Named as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, we now know much more about the city’s storied history—from its Nabataean origins to its Roman and later Byzantine rule—and what remains of a once-flourishing trade centre is now one of Jordan’s most spectacular sites. The idea of finding a lost city has fascinated humans for centuries, and walking down the winding Siq that leads the way to Petra will make you feel as though you are somehow discovering it for yourself. Four Seasons Hotel Amman in Jordan’s capital city is the ideal jumping off point for a visit to Petra. Just a few hours’ drive from the Hotel, the grandeur of the carved monuments peaking through the narrow gorge as you approach is an experience that you won’t soon forget.


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3 Comments about Discover the Lost City of Petra

  1. Pingback: Parents' insider guide to family travel: Four Seasons Amman | Family Holidays

  2. jfkatz says:

    We live in Aqaba and always stay at the Four Seasons when in Amman. We love it (and we’ve tried other hotels). The service is wonderful, the gym is fabulous and the breakfast is my favorite. You will love Petra but make sure you have good shoes as the ground is a bit uneven with gravel in parts. Even in February be prepared for sun. Don’t forget your camera!

  3. danaee perez says:

    I am going there in 4 weeks and staying at the four seasons…so excited!!!!

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