Inhabited since prehistoric times, this Nabataean caravan-city, situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, was an important crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia. Petra is half-built, half-carved into the rock, and is surrounded by mountains riddled with passages and gorges. It is one of the world's most famous archaeological sites, where ancient Eastern traditions blend with Hellenistic architecture.


Habitée depuis la préhistoire, cette cité caravanière nabatéenne située entre la mer Rouge et la mer Morte fut dans l'Antiquité un carrefour important entre l'Arabie, l'Égypte et la Syrie-Phénicie. Mi-construite et mi-sculptée dans le roc à l'intérieur d'un cirque de montagnes percé de couloirs et de défilés, Petra est un site archéologique des plus célèbres, où se mêlent les influences de traditions orientales anciennes et de l'architecture hellénistique.


 تقع مدينة الأنباط هذه التي تمرّ عليها القوافل والتي كانت مأهولةً منذ ما قبل التاريخ، بين البحر الأحمر والبحر الميّت. وهي كانت في العصور القديمة ملتقًى مهمًّا بين شبه الجزيرة العربيّة ومصر وسوريا الفينيقيّة. تُعتبَر البتراء، المُشيّد نصفها والمحفور نصفها الآخر في الصخر داخل مدرّج الجبال الذي تخترقه الممرّات والمَعابر، من أشهر المواقع التاريخيّة حيث تختلط تأثيراتُ التقاليد الشرقيّة القديمة مع الهندسة اليونانية القديمة.

source: UNESCO/ERI



source: UNESCO/ERI

Древний город Петра

Заселенный еще с доисторических времен, этот набатейский караванный город, расположенный вблизи Красного и Мертвого морей, был важным перекрестком путей между Аравией, Египтом и Сирией-Финикией. Петра, наполовину построенная, наполовину высеченная в скалах и окруженная горами, которые расчленены перевалами и ущельями, является одним из наиболее известных археологических памятников в мире, где древние восточные традиции сочетаются с эллинистической архитектурой.

source: UNESCO/ERI


Situada entre el Mar Rojo y el Mar Muerto, esta ciudad nabatea estuvo habitada desde los tiempos prehistóricos. En la Antigüedad fue una importante encrucijada de las caravanas comerciales que transitaban entre Arabia, Egipto, Siria y Fenicia. En parte esculpida en la roca y en parte construida en medio de un circo de montañas surcadas por pasos y desfiladeros, Petra es uno de los sitios arqueológicos más celebres del mundo, en el que se mezclan las influencias de las tradiciones del antiguo Oriente y las de la arquitectura helenística.

source: UNESCO/ERI


source: NFUAJ


Petra wordt sinds de prehistorie bewoond. Deze karavaanstad van de Nabateeërs ligt tussen de Rode Zee en de Dode Zee en was een belangrijk kruispunt tussen Arabië, Egypte en Syrië-Fenicië. Petra is half gebouwd, half uitgehouwen uit de rotsen en wordt omringd door bergen vol passages en kloven. Het is een van ’s werelds beroemdste archeologische vindplaatsen. In het landschap met overheersend rode zandsteen, zijn de oude oosterse tradities samengesmolten met de Hellenistische architectuur. Petra is van uitzonderlijke waarde vanwege de enorme hoeveelheid graf- en tempelarchitectuur, religieuze plaatsen en de restanten van kanalen, tunnels en omleidingsdammen.


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Petra (Jordan) © Silvan Rehfeld
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea and inhabited since prehistoric times, the rock-cut capital city of the Nabateans, became during Hellenistic and Roman times a major caravan centre for the incense of Arabia, the silks of China and the spices of India, a crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia. Petra is half-built, half-carved into the rock, and is surrounded by mountains riddled with passages and gorges. An ingenious water management system allowed extensive settlement of an essentially arid area during the Nabataean, Roman and Byzantine periods. It is one of the world's richest and largest archaeological sites set in a dominating red sandstone landscape. 

The Outstanding Universal Value of Petra resides in the vast extent of elaborate tomb and temple architecture; religious high places; the remnant channels, tunnels and diversion dams that combined with a vast network of cisterns and reservoirs which controlled and conserved seasonal rains, and the extensive archaeological remains including of copper mining, temples, churches and other public buildings. The fusion of Hellenistic architectural facades with traditional Nabataean rock-cut temple/tombs including the Khasneh, the Urn Tomb, the Palace Tomb, the Corinthian Tomb and the Deir ("monastery") represents a unique artistic achievement and an outstanding architectural ensemble of the first centuries BC to AD. The varied archaeological remains and architectural monuments from prehistoric times to the medieval periods bear exceptional testimony to the now lost civilisations which succeeded each other at the site.

Criterion (i): The dramatic Nabataean/Hellenistic rock-cut temple/tombs approached via a natural winding rocky cleft (the Siq), which is the main entrance from the east to a once extensive trading city, represent a unique artistic achievement. They are masterpieces of a lost city that has fascinated visitors since the early 19th century. The entrance approach and the settlement itself were made possible by the creative genius of the extensive water distribution and storage system.

Criterion (iii): The serried rows of numerous rock-cut tombs reflecting architectural influences from the Assyrians through to monumental Hellenistic; the sacrificial and other religious high places including on Jebels Madbah, M'eisrah, Khubtha, Habis and Al Madras; the remains of the extensive water engineering system, city walls and freestanding temples; garden terraces; funerary stelae and inscriptions together with the outlying caravan staging posts on the approaches from the north (Barid or Little Petra) and south (Sabra) also containing tombs, temples, water cisterns and reservoirs are an outstanding testament to the now lost Nabataean civilization of the fourth century BC to the first century AD.

Remains of the Neolithic settlement at Beidha, the Iron Age settlement on Umm al Biyara, the Chalcolithic mining sites at Umm al Amad, the remains of Graeco-Roman civic planning including the colonnaded street, triple-arched entrance gate, theatre, Nymphaeum and baths; Byzantine remains including the triple-apses basilica church and the church created in the Urn Tomb; the remnant Crusader fortresses of Habis and Wueira; and the foundation of the mosque on Jebel Haroun, traditionally the burial place of the Prophet Aaron, all bear exceptional testimony to past civilizations in the Petra area.

Criterion (iv): The architectural ensemble comprising the so-called "royal tombs" in Petra (including the Khasneh, the Urn Tomb, the Palace Tomb and the Corinthian Tomb), and the Deir ("monastery") demonstrate an outstanding fusion of Hellenistic architecture with Eastern tradition, marking a significant meeting of East and West at the turn of the first millennium of our era.

The Umm al Amad copper mines and underground galleries are an outstanding example of mining structures dating from the fourth millennium BC.

The remnants of the diversion dam, Muthlim tunnel, water channels, aqueducts, reservoirs and cisterns are an outstanding example of water engineering dating from the first centuries BC to AD.


All the main freestanding and rock-cut monuments and extensive archaeological remains within the arid landscape of red sandstone cliffs and gorges lie within the boundaries of the property that coincide with the boundaries of the Petra National Park. The monuments are subject to ongoing erosion due to wind and rain, exacerbated in the past by windblown sand due to grazing animals reducing ground cover. The resettlement more than twenty years ago of the Bdul (Bedouin) tribe and their livestock away from their former seasonal dwellings in the Petra basin to a new village at Umm Sayhun was aimed in part at arresting this process.

They are also vulnerable to flash flooding along Wadi Musa through the winding gorge (Siq) if the Nabataean diversion system is not continually monitored, repaired and maintained.

The property is under pressure from tourism, which has increased greatly since the time of inscription, particularly congestion points such as the Siq which is the main entrance to the city from the east.

The property is also vulnerable to the infrastructure needs of local communities and tourists. A new sewerage treatment plant has been provided within the property to the north with the recycled water being used for an adjacent drip irrigation farming project. Further infrastructure development proposed inside the boundary includes electricity supply and substation, a community/visitor centre, an outdoor theatre for community events, picnic areas, camping ground and a new restaurant near the Qasr al Bint temple, all of which have the potential to impact on the integrity of the property.


The attributes of temple/tomb monuments, and their location and setting clearly express the Outstanding Universal Value. The natural decay of the sandstone architecture threatens the authenticity of the property in the long-term. Stabilization of freestanding monuments including the Qasr al Bint temple and the vaulted structure supporting the Byzantine forecourt to the Urn Tomb Church was carried out prior to inscription.

Protection and management requirements

Under Jordanian National law, responsibility for protection of Antiquities sites lies with the Department of Antiquities, a separate entity under the Ministry for Tourism and Antiquities.

The property is a protected area within the Petra Archaeological Park managed by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. However responsibility for the overall planning and implementation of infrastructure projects at the site rests largely with the Petra Regional Authority (PRA) - originally the Petra Regional Planning Council (PRPC) - but now expanded to cover the social and economic wellbeing of the communities in the locality.

Increased staff numbers have enabled campaigns of inspection and control and strategies have been developed to manage tourist access and local community involvement, including the location and design of community-managed shop/kiosks.

Regulations and policies developed under the Petra Archaeological Park Operating Plan will cover infrastructure projects undertaken by the PRA including electrification of the Petra Archaeological Park and works associated with water recycling farming projects including tree-planting. They will also cover visitor facilities such as park lighting, tourist trails and interpretative signage, restaurants and shops, community recreation areas and businesses, as well as public events and activities within the park.

There is a long-term need for a framework for sustainable development and management practices aimed at protecting the property from damage resulting from the pressure of visitors, while enhancing revenues from tourism that will contribute to the economic and social viability of the region.