Ancient City Floods, Leading To Evacuations

( The ancient city of Petra, carved into Jordan’s red sandstone hills, recently experienced a flash flood that forced tourists to evacuate. ¬†Water from the nearby Jordanian mountains flowed into the gorge city that has stood for centuries.

The Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority stated that the Jordanian government evacuated approximately 1,700 tourists from Petra due to the heavy rainfall. A siren-equipped alarm system was installed near the area in 2014 to warn of flooding.

According to historical reports, Petra is known as the city that contains tombs of the Nabateans, a tribe of wealthy merchants whose civilization flourished between 200 B.C. and 100 A.D. Over 90% of the ancient town is buried beneath desert sands.

According to the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority, the Jordanian government evacuated approximately 1,700 tourists from Petra because of heavy rains. Three were injured in the flooding in neighboring Maan after a minibus was swept away by the raging torrents.

In 1963, 22 French tourists and a local guide perished when a flash flood struck Petra, killing 23 people. In 2018, 13-foot-high floodwaters swept away over a dozen people and forced 4,000 people to evacuate.

Reports show the Department of Antiquities of Jordan constructed a dam to prevent water from entering the canyon leading to Al-Khazneh, also known as The Treasury.

The alarm system was installed in 2014 to provide additional protection, with sirens programmed to sound when the water level exceeds a certain threshold.

Historical reports reveal Petra dates back to 400 B.C. when the Greeks attempted to conquer it. In the following centuries, the Nabataeans carved various structures into the rock, with the iconic Al-Khazneh temple constructed as a mausoleum for King Aretas IV in the first century AD.  More than ninety percent of it is buried beneath the desert sands and, therefore, inaccessible.

Petra is visited by more than 1.5 million tourists yearly.
I hope to be one of them soon. But not during the rainy season.