Today most visitors come to Petra from the East which leads down through a deep narrow gorge through the sandstone. At the end of the gorge is Petra’s most famous ruin cut out of the cliff, Al Khazneh, or The Treasury. As impressive as the carved stone looks on the outside, it is simply an entry for a tomb. The rest of the ancient city is also impressive. By controlling what little water came in that dry region, the Nabateans who settled there were able to thrive. Their real fortune was made by controlling trade in the region.
Settlement in Petra may have begun over 3000 years ago. In 106 AD, when Cornelius Palma was governor of Syria, that part of Arabia under the rule of Petra was absorbed into the Roman Empire as part of Arabia Petraea, and Petra became its capital.
Petra is amazing. There are many edifaces cut out of the rock. Estimates are that the population was in the 10s of thousands. I took a lot of pictures here and will have to write more later. If you look at the last several pictures, they were taken as we left the our hotel. The people who lived nearby were playing in the snow that had fallen the night before, something they only get a chance to do perhaps once in twenty years. That means I had the opportunity to see snow in the desert.