Petra: A Brief History is an easy to read, popular history of Petra, "the rose red city, half as old as time" and the mysterious Nabataeans who carved into from the living rock.
The author, with a dramatic flair, explains how geography and geology made the eventual site of Petra the most attractive real estate in the Middle East. He then tells the story of how the Nabataeans, coming from Arabia, moved into the region and established their capital there in the fifth century BCE. Within a few decades, Petra was the headquarters of vast commercial empire that controlled the East-West trade in incense, myrrh, spices, and silk, from borderland between Syria and Arabia, and the Euphrates to the Red Sea. Incredibly wealthy they were best known to their contemporaries for their hydraulic engineering, pottery and monumental buildings. Looking to guard their fortunes they foiled Antony and Cleopatra's escape, opposed the Herods and built a southern capital, Madain Salih, in Saudi Arabia. How they came to be, what they achieved and what happened to them, is a tale worth reading.
Petra: A Brief History is not another guidebook. It is a journey to understanding the whys, wherefores and hows of these fabled people based on present day scholarship.
This new title is published during the 200th anniversary "rediscovery" of Petra by the Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt" It is unique because it provides popular account of the two major Nabataean sites: Petra in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan as well as its important sister city of Madain Salih in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Both are UNESCO World Heritage sites the author, who has spent 23 years in the Middle East, knows intimately.