Petra
 
 

Petra is a historical and archaeological city in the southern Jordanian governorate of Ma'an that is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system. Another name for Petra is the Rose City due to the color of the stone out of which it is carved.

Established possibly as early as 312 BCE as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan, as well as Jordan's most-visited tourist attraction. It lies on the slope of Jebel al-Madhbah (identified by some as the biblical Mount Hor) in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was introduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. It was described as "a rose-red city half as old as time" in a Newdigate Prize-winning poem by John William Burgon. UNESCO has described it as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage".

Petra Roman Aqueduct
The narrow passage (Siq) that leads to Petra.

Siiq at Petra
Beginning of the Siiq, the long entrance canyon to Petra, Jordan

Petra Amphitheatre
An amphitheatre or amphitheater is an open-air venue used for entertainment, performances, and sports. The term derives from the ancient Greek (amphitheatron),[from ἀμφί (amphi), meaning "on both sides" or "around" meaning "place for viewing".

Ancient Greek theatres were built in a semicircle, with tiered seating above a performance area. Ancient Roman amphitheatres were oval or circular in plan, with seating tiers that surrounded the central performance area, like a modern open-air stadium. Modern usage for "amphitheater" is lax, and does not always respect the ancient usage, and so the word can be found describing theatre-style stages with the audience only on one side, theatres in the round, and stadiums. Natural formations shaped like man-made theatres are sometimes known as natural amphitheatres. The three largest Roman amphitheatres (in the original sense) in the world in order of size are the Colosseum, the Amphitheatre Campania and the Amphitheatre of El Djem.

Petra Rose-Red
A rose red city half as old as time. Petra, which means "stone" in Greek, is perhaps the most spectacular ancient city remaining in the modern world. The city was the capital of the Nabateans - Arabs who dominated the lands of Jordan during pre-Roman times - and they carved this wonderland of temples, tombs and elaborate buildings out of solid rock nearly 3000 years ago. By the end of the Byzantine Empire (circa A.D. 700), the once dignified and gracious buildings in the center of town had deteriorated to near ruins. For centuries, Petra fell into the mists of legend, its existence a guarded secret known only to the local Bedouins and Arab tradesmen. Finally, in 1812, a young Swiss explorer and convert to Islam named Johann Ludwig Burckhardt heard locals speaking of a "lost city" hidden in the mountains of Wadi Mousa. Burckhardt disguised himself as a pilgrim seeking to make a sacrifice at the tomb of Aaron. He managed to bluff his way through successfully, and the secret of Petra was revealed to the modern Western world.

Juniperus phoenicea Petra
Juniperus phoenicea, the Phoenicean Juniper or Arâr, is a juniper found throughout the Mediterranean region, from Morocco and Portugal east to Italy, Turkey and Egypt, south on the mountains of Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and in western Saudi Arabia near the Red Sea, and also on Madeira and the Canary Islands. It mostly grows at low altitudes close to the coast, but reaches 2,400 metres (7,900 ft) altitude in the south of its range in the Atlas Mountains.

Juniperus phoenicea is a large shrub or small tree reaching 2–12 metres (6.6–39.4 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 1 metre (3.3 ft) diameter and a rounded or irregular crown. The leaves are of two forms, juvenile needle-like leaves 8–10 mm long on seedlings, and adult scale-leaves 0.5–2 mm long on older plants; they are arranged in opposite decussate pairs or whorls of three. It is largely monoecious, but some individual plants are dioecious. The cones are berry-like, 6–14 mm in diameter, orange-brown, occasionally with a pinkish waxy bloom, and contain 3-8 seeds; they are mature in about 18 months. The male cones are 2–4 mm long, and shed their pollen in early spring.

Petra SandStoneRock-cut tombs
Sandstone (sometimes known as arenite) is a clastic sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.

Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow, red, grey, pink, white and black. Since sandstone beds often form highly visible cliffs and other topographic features, certain colours of sandstone have been strongly identified with certain regions.

Rock formations that are primarily composed of sandstone usually allow percolation of water and other fluids and are porous enough to store large quantities, making them valuable aquifers and petroleum reservoirs. Fine-grained aquifers, such as sandstones, are more apt to filter out pollutants from the surface than are rocks with cracks and crevices, such as limestone or other rocks fractured by seismic activity.

Quartz-bearing sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts.
 

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