Petra is one of the wonders of the ancient world, and perhaps the most amazing ancient site in the Middle East. The incredibly well-preserved city of Petra is at least 2,500 years old. The entire city was carved out of the side of a mountain, and perhaps even more amazing is that this desert city had a fully functioning plumbing system which made it a valuable oasis in the region. The history behind the city is fascinating, and students will have the opportunity to explore it in the fullest.
Learn some of the historical significance of Petra as part of a vibrant trade city and political
capital for civilizations that existed over 2000 years ago. During a three-hour long trek to various precincts of this World Heritage Site, led by an experienced local guide, pertinent information will be shared about what made Petra thrive under the Nabataeans and Greeks and why it eventually declined under Roman and Byzantine governance (changing trade routes, tax structures, irrigation systems, etc.).
Learn about the impact of modern-day tourism on the local Bedouin population of the area surrounding Petra. This is achieved through a presentation of information about some of the villages surrounding Petra.
Examine the importance of Petra as a source of employment and foreign currency trade for Jordan. Data will be provided to give an idea of Petra's centrality to the Jordanian tourism industry and the government's plans to expand access to more visitors—even as other geopolitical events and the ensuing negative press (ISIS, Arab Spring, Ebola, etc.)
Have a feel for the timeline and significance to experts of the archeological excavations in the Petra area.This is done through the presentation of information done by the local guide.
Understand key features that characterized the interaction of diverse cultures at cultural crossroads of Petra. This is done through highlighting archeological discoveries in Petra showing the influence of the Arabic, Roman, Greek and Egyptian cultural on the architectural design of some of the sites in Petra.
Students will discuss the concept of transculturation, previously foregrounded during other ISA excursions,applying it to Petra both during historical and contemporary time periods.