Petra is centre of an Arab kingdom in Hellenistic and Roman times. It is situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, was an important crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia.
It is one of the world's most famous archaeological sites, where ancient Eastern traditions blend with Hellenistic architecture.
The area around Petra has been inhabited from as early as 7000 BC and the Nabataeans might have settled in what would become the capital city of their kingdom, as early as the 4th century BC.
Petra fell to the Romans, who annexed Nabataea and renamed it as Arabia Petraea. Petra's importance declined as sea trade routes emerged, and after an earthquake in 363 destroyed many structures.It remained unknown to the West until it was rediscovered in 1812 by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt.
Petra is also called the "Rose City" because of the colour of the stone from which it is carved.It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. UNESCO has described Petra as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage".