Petra was chosen as the capital of the Nabateans because it was located in a valley surrounded by sandstone mountains. There are many ways to get into Petra, but none of them are easy, and if the valleys are sealed, it is almost impossible for anyone to enter. The main entrance to Petra is called the Siq; it has sides as high as 650 feet (200 m). This gorge and the temple at the end of it (the Kazneh) were popularized in American culture in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Knowledge of Petra had been lost to the western world until John Lewis Burckhardt tricked his Bedouin guides into leading him there in 1812.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||San Francisco International Airport|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Please arrive at least 2 hours before the flight.|
Of the 800 carved tombs in Petra, the Kazneh is the most famous. Its name Kazneh means “treasure” and comes from the Bedouin belief that the Pharaoh chasing the Israelites hid his treasure in the urn at the top of the Kazneh. Tomb facades were built from the top down. Scaffolding was built and then grooves were carved into the rock. Into these grooves were inserted pieces of wood, which when made wet, expanded and cracked the rock.