This seriously impressive city has been around for thousands of years. Keep reading to learn more...
1. Petra is an ancient city in Jordan carved out of SOLID rock.
Um...yes. Let's all just acknowledge the "cool" factor in that statement.
2. In order to get to it, visitors travel through a mile long, narrow, winding gorge.
Apparently in some places only two camels can pass at a time. Imagine trying to plan a surprise invasion on the city? Basically impossible. Best. defense. ever.
3. We don't actually know who all lived there over the course of its whole history.
It's not known when the area of Petra was settled, but it is thought to have been home to civilizations for thousands of years. We do know that it flourished as the capital of the Nabatean Empire in the 1st century B.C.
4. That huge structure..."city hall"? Nope. That's just the Nabatean Treasury.
The Nabateans were big in the spice trade from Arabia/India to the Mediterranean/Egypt. Their large treasury with a 150 ft. high inner chamber indicates they were a wealthy culture. It is believed that this Treasury was used as tomb too.
5. A massive earthquake hit Petra and it didn't end well.
Petra became part of the Roman empire and continued to thrive until the 4th century A.D. when a massive earthquake destroyed most of the city, but some parts survived and can be visited today.
6. Petra was largely forgotten about for almost 1800 years...
With the destruction from the earthquake and the change of trade routes, the city of Petra was abandoned and largely forgotten about until the 1800's A.D. when a Swiss dude decided to go looking for the lost city in the desert. He successfully found it. Crazy, right?!
7. In 1985, it was recognized as a UNESCO Heritage Site.
This means the world as a whole decided that this place holds an important piece of human history worth protecting for future generations.
8. Petra has made some pretty exclusive lists.
In 2007, the Treasury was picked as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. In 2008, the Smithsonian Magazine listed Petra as 1 of 28 places to visit before you die. In 2013, Petra was named by TIME Magazine as one of the greatest man-made wonders of the world.
In other words, this place is seriously impressive!
TIME Magazine - "Man- Made Wonders" edition
Smithsonian Magazine - "Guarding Petra"