Who Built Petra in Jordan
The area surrounding Petra and the wadis were inhabited by Neolithic villages since around 7000 BC.
In the Iron age, the area of Petra was inhabited by the Edomites, and their capital Sela, was based on top of Umm al-Biyara. Sela is mentioned in the Bible.
After that, the Nabataeans settled in the area around the 6th century BC. The Nabataeans were known for their organized trades in which over 500 years they used their wealth to built the famous Petra. The Nabataeans created their own script writing, they built dams and water channels to protect the city.
To learn more about who built Petra in Jordan, it is important to understand what the Nabataeans faced during that era.
Under King Aretas III, the Nabataeans had to buy off the Romans in exchange for independence. Roman influence can be seen on the buildings in Petra.
Later, the Nabataeans sided against Rome in the Parthian war and they paid a huge tribute to the Roman victors. The Nabataeans fell behind in paying their due tribute, and were invaded by Herod the Great twice, in which he was able to control a large part of their territory, including the northern trading routes into Syria.
Despite this, King Aretas IV, who ruled from 9 BCE to 40 CE, built a chain of settlements along the caravan routes in order develop the trade.
As Nabataeans realized the power of Rome, they allied themselves with the Romans to quell the Jewish uprising around 70 CE. Shortly after that, the Nabataea fell under direct Roman rule. Rabbel II, the last Nabataean monarch, agreed with the Romans that as long as they did not attack during his lifetime, they would be allowed to move in after his death. Upon his death in 106 CE, the Romans claimed the Nabataean Kingdom and renamed it Arabia Petrea. During that time, Petra was redesigned according to traditional Roman architectural designs, and a period of relative prosperity ensued under the Pax Romana.
During the 4th century CE, the Nabataeans are believed to have left their capital at Petra. There is no clear fact to explain why they left, but it seems that the withdrawal was an unhurried and organized process, as very few silver coins or valuable possessions have been unearthed at Petra.
Jordan Petra Tours
We provide arranged tours to Petra, which you can check out by visiting our tours to Petra.
Wherever Petra fits in your schedule, we can help you make it the best experience.
Available options include:
We can also arrange your customized tour, feel free to contact us and tell us what you need.
Please Ask anything you like !
We would love to know more about your experience, feel free to share it and make sure to point out your suggestions to help us improve our service or any warnings to help other travelers.
If you have any questions or special requests, please contact us and we will make sure we do our best to help you.
Thank you, and have a pleasant stay in Jordan 🙂