Petra means "stone" in Latin. It is perhaps the most
spectacular ancient city remaining and is a must-see for visitors
to Jordan. It is certainly Jordan's most famous attraction. This
rose colored capital of the Nabateans is breathtaking.
Petra was founded about 1200 BCE by the Edomites, the descendants of Esau, the son of Isaac and Rebecca. In about 300 BCE the Edomites were driven out by the Nabateans. Nestled away in the mountains of Wadi Mousa (Valley of Moses) south of the Dead Sea, it prospered as the capital of the Nabatean empire until 106 CE when it was annexed to the Roman empire. The Petra basin contains over 800 individual monuments that were mostly carved from the rose colored, kaleidoscopic sandstone by the technical and artistic genius of the Nabateans. The wealth and political power of this indigenous people derived from their control of the international trade routes that linked China, India and Southern Arabia to the wealthy Mediterranean markets Greece, Rome, Egypt and Syria.