East Meets West Architectural Pattern at Petra

Remains of a lost caravan city from the prehistoric period lie amongst rugged terrains of the western world. Petra bears footprints of being a thriving trading center. For about a hundred years the city remained hidden within rugged terrains. Surrounded by mountains and canyons this sandstone is located near Jordan. It occupies the southwestern corner of the Hashemite Kingdom. Between the periods 400 B.C. and 106 A.D. it was considered the capital city of the Nabatean empire. Furthermore it has been recognized by UNESCO, in 1985. Now declared out amongst seven wonders of the world in 2007.

East Meets West Architectural Pattern at Petra
East Meets West Architectural Pattern at Petra

Geographical Features of Petra

Petra is situated in the Royal Arabian state of Jordan. However, between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea lies Petra. Many scholars believe it is the site where Moses was granted ten commandments. A holy place is mentioned in the Bible. It has been recognized as Mt.Sinai as Petra sits upon Jebel-al-Madhbah.

This mountainous and rugged city of Petra was once the capital city of the Nabataean Empire. Water streams perennial in nature flows through the year. The approach to Petra is the eastern gate through the “Siq”. In Arabic, it means the shaft. However, the visitors have to cross a narrow gorge to arrive at the other side. You arrive straightway to Al-Khazney or the treasure house. The treasure house can be seen with numerous bullet holes. Those were inflicted by native tribes.

En-Nejar is a large amphitheater that has been carved out. Visitors can enjoy the Majestic city view of Petra from this site. The carvings are from pink sandstone. GOD knows how long the stones will survive. It has already started wearing. Moss and creepers have started sprouting. 

After entry, while walking through the “Siq” between mountains you can see waterways all along. Remember, you can encounter narrow gorge spaces. Even less than ten feet from the wall of the mountains. The “SIq” can be walked or a horse cart can be availed. A stretch of 800 meters needs to be covered to reach the treasure house.

Fascination of Petra 

The magnificence of Petra has influenced a lot of archeologists and renowned movie directors. If you are a movie buff, you must have viewed Indiana Jones and the last crusade? It was a blockbuster movie for which shooting of various scenes was done in Petra. Al-Khazneh, the most popular feature at Petra, has been portrayed. The Easter entrance was used. An artificial two-hundred-foot high canyon was created to enhance the climax in the scene. Actors Harison 

Ford and Sean Connery were shown with a treasure hunt mission. But reality and fiction have differences. It was a small hall meant for housing a royal tomb.

History of Petra

Remains in Petra suggest the Nabataean’s innovative way to design water restoration. The Nabataeans controlled over a vast part of the Middle East up to Northern Arabian Peninsula. Jordan and Israel as known today were then their grip of control. Till the Nabataeans got conquered. However, the total area of Petra shows remains of water channels, water storage, and irrigation network. After getting conquered, the Nabataeans got mixed in Roman Empire. 

It has been studied that the scholars knew about the Nabateans at least from around 312B.C. They were in Petra. The archeologist Al-Muhaesin states the latest excavation proves no evidence dating first century B.C. But, whatever visible are from the fourth century B.C. He began his part of excavation work in 1979.

Reviews state only 15% has been covered. A lot of work is pending. About 85% needs to be excavated and studied.

East Meets West Architectural Pattern at Petra
East Meets West Architectural Pattern at Petra

The American Center of Oriental Research of Amman is trying to figure out the presence of Nabenaeans during Byzantine time. Several scrolls identified during excavation at Petra belong to that period. In the vicinity of the Winged Lion temple excavation, the Greek archaeologists found traces of Nabaean existence. It is now being researched if the sect existed.

Truth is that history has not been fully exposed. A lot of archeological trails lie underground. Untouched as of date. Whatever appears as of date is Greek-Roman influence. Once Rome took possession, in 106 A.D, the importance of international trade started deteriorating. The enthralling Petra began to decay. By 700 A.D. Petra lost its importance. Earthquakes and rising favoritism of sea trade led to the final disappearance of the Byzantine time empire, Petra.

Correlation with Media

  1. Mention of Petra can be sighted in multiple literature and novels
  2. It has reflected in various TV programs and movies
  3. A sonnet piece of 370 lines named Petra won an award later. The author was John William Burgon
  4. The Eagle in the sand was a famous novel that has mentions Petra. Last but not least The Adventures of Tintin, and The Last Act of Palmyra include Petra.
  5. Petra got featured in films. Sinbad, the Last Crusade, Eye of the Tiger, The Mummy Returns, etc. are noticed
  6. Various National Geographic, PBS shows, and documentaries have spoken about Petra
  7. Several video games have Petra in their background 

Finding Today

Within Petra, there are dozens of tombs. Especially the Treasury entrance has urn decorations, You can notice numerous bullet holes on them. The Beduin tribes who reside within caves at Petra have blamed the locals for the misdeed. They claim the locals did so in search of treasure. In actuality, they were mere stones.

Visitors can experience the once important relics inspired by Nabataeans. Structures made with Nabreaen and Greek-Roman ie. East and West architectural mix. The tombs made at that time in Petra have been looted. The original Nabateans are missing. The Bedouins throng the area, hawkers to sustain a living.

Since the past till today, various books by archaeologists and historians have mentioned threatening events in Petra. But, from a restoration point of view, the Petra management group became very cautious.

Measures to Resist Threats

Petra, the citadel of Arabian culture requires protection. To attend to the various threats of the site, in 1989 the Petra National Trust (PNT) was formed. Their motive was to save this world heritage site which has great historical values. Promoting Petra as a sacred landmark, the PNT group has committed to protecting, then conserve and finally preserve.

Threats that needs to be researched in-depth:

  • Erosion possibility due to weather or floods
  • Improper restoration of the various parts of the structure
  • A vital portion of the structure collapsing

Around the City

The township of Wadi Musa also known as the valley of Moses grew up around Petra. The wadi leads to the entrance to Petra. Spread over five-kilometer up to Moses’ Spring, Wadi Musa houses hotels. Houses, restaurants, and shops. Wadi Musa survives based on Tourism only. After the peace treaty with Israel, tourism scope became lucrative to the localities. Most of them have no aesthetic or social norms. As a result, clashes started. Close such unethical practice and obey laws of expansion of neighborhood strategy . The quality of customer service needs streamlined as well as the number of intakes.

East Meets West Architectural Pattern at Petra
East Meets West Architectural Pattern at Petra

Visiting Petra

   Unwind yourself to this historical landscape Petra. The tombs, silent canyons, and mountains embrace epic scales of human history. However, to cover site seeing you require physical strength. Subsequently follow some basic formalities rather tips for visitors:

  • To enter Jordan you need Visa. But thankfully you can get a Visa on Arrival. It will cost you 40JOD. Each JOD=1.41USD stands the conversion factor which may change. You can arrange Visa online or offline. It is better to book guided tours; you need not worry about the following tour plan. 
  • For a safe tour, the guided tour will be the best option. You can avail accommodation, transport, food, and site-seeing combined facility. As per your budget and preference itinerary can be set. An extra benefit is a safety and security in restless events. If you want to DIY, choose from booking.com. They have a lot of accommodation stock you can choose accordingly. The hotels can help with transport and guides.
  • If you intend to visit Petra, Wadi Musa would be the right place to put up. Forget not, you have a long day ahead and miles to walk through sandy rough terrains, climb steps and traverse heights for a complete Petra experience.
  • Remember, Petra is all about rough and rugged terrains. You have to walk through the “Siq” and further to see the tombs and beautiful sculptures created by our ancestors. Hence, your suggestion is to wear comfortable shoes to cover up bad experiences.
  • If you want to avoid time standing in queues and buying Jordan Pass to enter Petra try buying it online. For every visit to points of interest in Jordan, you need a ticket. If you have a tour guide he can arrange it.
  • For a day-long tour in Petra, you can experience sunburns and heat strokes. To avoid such adverse conditions keep yourself hydrated. While living the hotel gets adequate water to drink at gaps.
  • At lunchtime try local cuisine at beduine’s restaurants. Set within Petra premises. Pack food for lunch from the hotel otherwise. 
  • You become tired at the end. Walking back to the “Siq” may get troublesome. Better arrange for a car to wait and drop you at your base.
  • Carry some changes in Jordan dinar for safety. It may be necessary to buy food or souvenirs as you wish.
  • Too much time to cover Petra site seeing. Plan to match the extra days.
  • If you have medicines like antacid or vomiting or headache. To avoid sunlight and heat wear light clothes, googles. Apply sunscreen lotion. In sand storms and hot air covering your nose is essential, carry scarfs
  • Don’t forget the travel insurance policy. Your illness. theft, or cancellations. All adverse conditions can be recovered
  • You can make a trip around Petra alone. If you want to discover the history behind and lost traditions of the Nabataeans you need a knowledgeable guide. The tourist center at Wadi Musa can help you in this matter. The guides can provide night passes if needed.
East Meets West Architectural Pattern at Petra
East Meets West Architectural Pattern at Petra

Itinerary for a Day Trip to Petra

  • Enjoy the sunrise at Siq. Wonderful time to slow a bit, and experience the beauty of cliffs and sacred places. It is around 6 am you need to start. The caretaker of horses won’t be around .The only option to cross the Siq is walking. It is sure that you would enjoy silence of the site. Calmness of the Siq.
  • By 10 am if you reach the treasury, you get to see the sunlight at the front gate. Exposing the intricate carvings on the stone sculpture.
  • Main streets beside the treasury has borders of tombs. The galore from the past. Nabatean traditions reflect richness. Try reaching there by mid-morning.
  • Ancient Petra city is sacred. You would find a lot of ancient church-like structures at high rock points which need steps to climb. By high noon try to reach these spots
  • Have lunch by the side of the basin. You can try local traditional Bedouin food at this place. The Bedouins have built food stalls and shops to sustain a livelihood. You get a break and scope to relax. You can start onward journey.

Post Lunch Plan

  • In mid-afternoon, the must-visit site is the monastery. Without the view, your trip to Petra wouldn’t get complete. There are two hundred steps to climb. The sunset view is just terrific. Sunlight enables you to enjoy golden view. The color changes. The carving of the monastery replicates Roman or Greek churches again.
  • A day concludes by walking beside the candle. Visitors may leave after dark.
East Meets West Architectural Pattern at Petra
East Meets West Architectural Pattern at Petra

Related article: Read informative travel blog by Stylish HeathPETRA {NABATAEAN KINGDOM}

Bottom Line

Petra is a city that inherits traditional and cultural remnants of Nabataean Kingdom. The reflection of Eastern and Western structural influence is visible. It is now within seven wonders of the World.

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