The Nabataeans. (March 2012)

I have long lived under the belief that Petra was built in the classical Graeco-Roman style.

The Corinthian columns, triangular pediments and relief sculptures are all features from that architectural period.

It’s easy to understand why when the building, most featured, in the tourist guides, is Al-Khazneh or The Treasury.

It’s only when you spend some time exploring, and reading, that you discover what an amazing civilization the Nebataeans were.

Having found an almost impenetrable river gorge on the main spice route between the east and west they then taxed all the caravans that passed though. They used the wealth gained from the caravans trade to carve out a city from the surrounding sandstone mountains.

The Nabataeans were a sponge of civilizations, soaking up architectural and social influences from the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.

All these styles can be found in some of the lesser known buildings and tombs. The Obelisk Tomb, with four pyramid shaped needles, is clearly influenced by ancient Egypt.

They also developed some original styles of their own.

The Nabataeans created a place that is unique, by borrowing from the greatness of other cultures and then adapting it to their own specific needs.

That’s true creativity.


Leave a Reply