Al-Khazneh (Treasury)

Hewn out of the rose rock, the ancient Nabataean city of Petra is one of the most spectacular destinations in the Middle East and is regarded as one of the new Severn Wonders of the world.

The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was discovered by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt a Swiss explorer. It was once described as ‘a rose-red city half as old as time’ in a sonnet by John William Burgon.

Evidence of the earliest Nabataean settlement is sketchy. Some of the characteristics of the site appear partly Egyptian and partly Greek in style. Strangely, few inscriptions have been found at Petra making dating the civilisation a challenge for historians. It is thought that the Nabataean settlement does not go back further than the 6th century BC.

In 106 BC Petra was absorbed into the Roman Empire and the native dynasty came to an end but continued to flourish for a century later. Eventually the building of tombs ended trade moved away from Petra when it fell into steady decline over the centuries. Over time many of the tomb’s treasures were stolen by raiders and their glory and whereabouts are unknown.
Perta. Syria 2010
Stephen Mc Donald