A well-known ancient Nabataean city in the south of Jordan, Petra is the most popular place to visit in the country. Petra was the capital of the Nabataean kingdom from around the 6th century BC until its subjugation to the Romans in the 2nd Century AD, and was recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.
Its success in ancient times was largely down to the Nabataeans’ trading success, its position as the main crossroad between east and west, and the exquisite pottery it produced.
After Saladin’s conquest of the Middle East in 1189, Petra was abandoned and the memory of it was lost to the west. The ruins remained hidden to most of the world until the Swiss explorer, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, disguised as an Arab scholar, infiltrated the Bedouin-occupied city in 1812. The first real excavations of the site were in 1929 after the forming of Trans-Jordan.