The 39 Clues


The encyclopedic guide to useless facts on the internet.
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Petra is a vast city carved into the sandstone rock in Arabah, Jordan. It was built by the Nabatean people about 2,000 years ago and became an important junction for the silk and spice trade routes. I’ve been there! It’s SO cool. Although the guards don’t really like people exploring on their own. I didn’t see any guards when I was there. Really? ’Cause I kept seeing these scary-looking guys in black uniforms.

One enters Petra by traveling through the Siq, a narrow gorge that leads to the famous treasury, Al-Khazneh. It was carved as a tomb for an important king. There were once many treasures inside the tombs of Petra, but over the years, looters ravished the insides, leaving the city’s riches lost to history. Supposedly, the greatest treasure of all remains.

Other features of the site include:

A massive Roman-style theater, which could seat 3,000 people.

Obelisks, temples, sacrificial altars, and colonnaded streets.

The impressive Ad-Deir Monastery, which overlooks the valley

After the Romans invaded Petra in about 100 AD, the trade routes changed, and Petra was gradually forgotten. It was unknown to Westerners until 1812, when a Swiss explorer disguised himself as a priest and snuck past the guards of the ruins. Whoa. He must have wanted to get in pretty badly. Maybe he was looking for treasure! Or hiding a treasure of his own . . .