Petra is totally "Instagramable" but What Exactly is it?



Petra is one of those places that's all over the "gram". Any travel blogger that can make it there will.... and post tons of photos of it all over social media. That's because it is an honestly beautiful place. I'm going off of photos and videos because I haven't been; but it's on my bucket list.


I'm sure you've seen the pictures too... a building that looks like a bank carved out of solid rock, rock that almost looks pink contrasted against the washed out colors of the desert landscape. For centuries this bank looking building has been known as "The Treasury", but it was actually a tomb built by a mysterious culture. So, let's get down to the business of who these mysterious folks were and what Petra actually is.


Petra is located in the modern day country of Jordan and it's actually an ancient city built by a culture who existed around 2400 years ago, the Nabateans. The city is carved from the surrounding sandstone cliffs and was built around the turn of the 4th century BCE. To give you a little perspective, Alexander the Great lived during the 4th century BCE.


The Nabateans were nomads were came out of the desert and into the canyons to build a city. The city was their crowing glory, it was a display of their wealth and accomplishment. This wealth was built from the incense trade. You see, Petra lies on the ancient incense trade routes. So, traders coming out of Arabia and heading North East to the port of Gaza on the Mediterranean Sea would have passed through Petra. Therefore, the Nabateans were able to collect tolls and taxes from these traders. They had a good thing going and managed to become very wealthy.


The Nabateans eventually died out around 100 CE when they were finally completed absorbed by the powerful Roman Empire. The region was re-named Arabia Petra. Over the centuries that followed Petra became a "ghost town" and a place of mystery and superstition for the Bedouin tribes that live in the area.


That all changed in the early 1800's when a Swiss explorer disguised himself as a Bedouin and made his way into Petra. Jean-Louis Burckhardt explored what was then called "The Orient", what we call the Middle East today, and kept a diary of what he saw and found along his journeys. After his death his journals were published in 1822 and the archaeological quest to unearth Petra was on.


Today a trip to Jordan can put you face to face with this fabulous city carved out of solid rock. If I ever make it there I will be sure to share every. single. one. of my pictures. LOL! If you've been share your pictures with us!