Inhabited since prehistoric times, this Nabataean caravan-city, situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, was an important crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia. Petra is half-built, half-carved into the rock, and is surrounded by mountains riddled with passages and gorges. It is one of the world's most famous archaeological sites, where ancient Eastern traditions blend with Hellenistic architecture.
Eastern desert – Az Zarqa' Governorate
Built in the early 8th century, this exceptionally well-preserved desert castle was both a fortress with a garrison and a residence of the Umayyad caliphs. The most outstanding features of this small pleasure palace are the reception hall and the hammam, both richly decorated with figurative murals that reflect the secular art of the time.
Um er-Rasas (Kastrom Mefa'a)
Most of the Um er-Rasas archaeological site has not been excavated. Containing remains from the Roman, Byzantine and Early Moslem periods (end of 3rd to 9th century AD), the site started as a Roman military camp and grew to become a town as of the 5th century. There has been little excavation of the ca 150-m by 150-m fortified military camp. The site also has several churches, some with well preserved mosaic floors. Particularly noteworthy is the mosaic floor of the Church of Saint Stephen with its representation of towns in the region. Two square towers are probably the only remains of the practice, well known in this part of the world, of the stylite monks (i.e. ascetic monks who spent time in isolation atop a column or tower). Um er-Rasas is surrounded by, and dotted with, remains of ancient agricultural cultivation.