Petra: Rich and Powerful City in Ancient Times


So why do people who are on a Bible Lands Tour visit Petra (click for a good Wikipedia summary)?   It was never mentioned (for sure) in the Bible although it was a thriving, powerful, rich city during Old Testament times and in the time of Christ.  It is famous now for having a lot of impressive stone structures carved into the rock.  But back then, these folks controlled (and sold) the water supply in the area using dams, cisterns and conduits.  They also controlled the main commercial routes which passed through it to Gaza in the west, to Damasus in the north, and across the desert to the Persian Gulf.  That’s a good way to get rich.  What a reminder that all who live in caves are not primitive!  It also reminds me that anything can fall from prominence.  Petra’s decline came rapidly under Roman rule, in large part due to the revision of sea-based trade routes. But in A.D. 363 an earthquake destroyed buildings and crippled the vital water management system.  So much for geographical prominence!  Thanks to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), the location will live on in film prominence.



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