Discovering Ancient Civilizations: Exploring the Ruins of Petra

Discovering Ancient Civilizations: Exploring the Ruins of Petra

When it comes to exploring ancient civilizations, one of the most fascinating sites to visit is the ruins of Petra in Jordan. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its stunning architecture, rock-cut buildings, and intricate water system. Let’s delve into the history and beauty of Petra as we uncover the secrets of this ancient city.

The History of Petra

Petra was originally settled as early as 9,000 BC by the Nabataean tribe, who established it as their capital city in the 4th century BC. The city thrived as a major trading hub, connecting the Silk Road with the Mediterranean world. Petra reached its peak during the Roman Empire and was eventually abandoned in the 7th century AD.

The Architecture of Petra

One of the most striking features of Petra is its rock-cut architecture, with buildings carved directly into the sandstone cliffs. The most famous of these is the Treasury, a stunning temple that greets visitors as they enter the city through the Siq. Other notable structures include the Monastery, the Royal Tombs, and the Great Temple.

The Water System of Petra

One of the most impressive achievements of Petra is its sophisticated water system, which includes dams, cisterns, and aqueducts. The Nabataeans were able to control and redirect water flow to sustain a population of up to 30,000 people in the desert environment of Petra.

Exploring Petra Today

Today, Petra is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world who come to marvel at its ancient wonders. The site can be explored on foot or by horseback, with guided tours available to help visitors understand the history and significance of the various structures.

Conservation Efforts

Due to the fragile nature of the rock-cut buildings and the threat of erosion, conservation efforts are ongoing at Petra. The site is carefully monitored and protected to ensure that future generations can continue to explore and appreciate this ancient civilization.

Visiting Petra

  • Entrance fees: Tickets to Petra can be purchased at the visitor center, with different prices for day visitors and those staying overnight.
  • Guided tours: It is recommended to hire a local guide to fully appreciate the history and significance of the site.
  • Best time to visit: The cooler months of spring and autumn are the most pleasant times to explore Petra, avoiding the extreme heat of summer.


Exploring the ruins of Petra is a truly magical experience that allows visitors to step back in time and imagine the bustling city that once thrived in the desert. The intricate architecture, stunning landscapes, and rich history make Petra a must-visit destination for anyone interested in ancient civilizations.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How old is Petra?

Petra dates back as far as 9,000 BC, but it was established as the capital city of the Nabataean tribe in the 4th century BC.

2. How long does it take to explore Petra?

It is recommended to allow at least one full day to explore Petra, although two days would give you more time to appreciate all the site has to offer.

3. Can you climb to the top of the Monastery?

Yes, visitors can climb the 800 steps to reach the top of the Monastery, where they can enjoy stunning views of Petra.

4. Are there any restrictions for visitors at Petra?

Visitors are asked to respect the site by not littering, defacing, or climbing on the ancient structures at Petra.

5. What is the best way to get to Petra?

The most common way to reach Petra is by flying into Jordan’s capital city, Amman, and then taking a bus or private car to the site.