Jordan, Petra and Jerrash
The ruins of Petra, like it’s name, are shrouded in mystery and have a combination
of Roman and Arabic roots. What is known is that they are the remains
of the Nabataean’s, an Arabic people that controlled the trade of Transjordan
in pre-roman days. The Nabateans were a force in the region long before
the Romans under Pompey conquered Syria and Palestine in 63 BC. After
years of using money, tribute and intrigue to hold the Romans at bay the
Romans finally took the city in 106 AD. After taking the city they
built a city of colonnaded streets and roman architecture in the valley that
was surrounded with grand tombs and buildings carved out of the rock.
At first sight the freestanding roman ruins seem out of place. But
on closer inspection you realize that the buildings that are hewed out of
the rock cross centuries of architectural styles, many of which have strong
Greek and Roman influences.
“Petra the name is said to come from the Greek word for stone, or rock since
the city itself was hollowed out of the rock. But it may just as well
have come from the Arabic ‘batara,’ meaning to cut or hew, since the city
was actually carved from rock.”
Nabil Naoum Petra: The Stones
Jerrash: Much further north of Petra is Jerrash. The greatest
Roman Ruin in Modern Day Jordan. If a visitor to Petra doubts the Roman
influence in the area a visit to the Jerrash will silence these doubts.
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