The History of Petra begins with the Kites and cairns of gazelle hunters going back into the acermaic neolithic.
Pliny the Elder and other writers identify Petra as the capital of the Nabataeans, Aramaic-speaking Semites, and the center of their caravan trade.
The Monastery, Petra's largest monument, dates from the first century B.C.E.
Of this type there exist close parallels in the tomb-towers at el-I~ejr in north Arabia, which bear long Nabataean inscriptions and supply a date for the corresponding monuments at Petra.
Christianity found its way into Petra in the fourth century C.E., nearly 500 years after the establishment of Petra as a trade center.
On December 6, 1985, Petra was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site based upon its outstanding cultural value.
The dim, narrow gorge - in some points no more than 3 metres (9.8 ft) wide - winds its way approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) and ends at Petra's most elaborate ruin, Al Khazneh (The Treasury).
Edomites occupied the area about 1200 B.C.E., and the biblical land of Sela is believed to have been renamed Petra.
The ruins of Petra were an object of curiosity in the Middle Ages and were visited by the Sultan Baibars of Egypt in the late 1200s.
The theater was probably excavated at that time, and Petra must have assumed the aspect of a Hellenistic city.
At the end of the narrow gorge stands Petra's most elaborate ruin, Al Khazneh ("the Treasury"), hewn into the sandstone cliff.
In 106, when Cornelius Palma was governor of Syria, that part of Arabia under the rule of Petra was absorbed into the Roman Empire as part of Arabia Petraea, becoming capital.
Petra's entrance is just past the town of Wadi Mousa.
Strangely, few inscriptions of any length have been found at Petra, perhaps because they have perished with the stucco or cement which was used upon many of the buildings.
Petra declined rapidly under Roman rule, in large part due to the revision of sea-based trade routes.
The Christianity of Petra, as of north Arabia, was swept away by the Islamic conquest of 629–632.
On July 7, 2007, Petra was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
In 1985, a Greenlandic flag was established, using the colors of the Danish Dannebrog.
Dating from around 30 B.C.E., it is believed to have been the main place of worship in Nabatean Petra, and was the city's only freestanding structure.
Sometimes the Aramaic versions give the form Rekem-Geya which recalls the name of the village El-ji, southeast of Petra.
Rekem is an ancient name for Petra and appears in Dead Sea scrolls associated with Mount Seir.
The Wadi Musa or "Wadi of Moses" is the Arab name for the narrow valley at the head of which Petra is sited.
Stations 19 through 26 of the stations list of Exodus are places associated with Petra and it is referred to there as "the cleft in the rock.
The Siq winds for about 1.5 kilometers (0.93 mi) before opening to the most impressive of all Petra’s monuments - the al-Khazneh ("the Treasury").