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- A statistical analysis of the orientation of Nabatean sacred monuments demonstrates that astronomical orientations were often part of an elaborated plan and possibly a trace of the astral nature of the Nabataean religion. Petra and other monuments in the ancient Nabataean kingdom have proven to be marvellous laboratories for the interaction between landscape features and astronomical events, showing impressive hierophanies on particular monuments related to cultic times and worships. Among other findings, the famous Ad Deir has shown a fascinating ensemble of light and shadow effects, perhaps connected with the bulk of Nabataean mythology, while from the impressive Urn Tomb, a series of suggestive solstitial and equinoctial alignments emanate which might have lately helped its selection as the cathedral of the city.
- Chiseled out of reddish Nubian sandstone, the physical landscape of Petra evokes Nabataean times. Abandoned tombs and stone rubble covering the flanks of the wadis that were once residences or public buildings, are hidden in the great rift mountains overlooking the Wādī ‘Arabah — they all speak eloquently of the bustling city of Petra that used to be and is now a spectacular architectural wonder, and recently elected one of the Wonders of the Ancient World.
- Martha Sharp Joukowsky: (2009). "Surprises at the Petra Great Temple: a retrospective". Studies in the History and Archaeology of Jordan 10: 291-310. (quote from p. 291)
- ... archaeologists are discovering that ancient Petra was a sprawling city of lush gardens and pleasant fountains, enormous temples and luxurious Roman-style villas. An ingenious water supply system allowed Petrans not just to drink and bathe, but to grow wheat, cultivate fruit, make wine and stroll in the shade of tall trees. During the centuries just before and after Christ, Petra was the Middle East's premier emporium, a magnet for caravans traveling the roads from Egypt, Arabia and the Levant. And scholars now know that Petra thrived for nearly 1,000 years, far longer than previously suspected.