Basel displays objects from desert town Petra

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November 8, 2012 – 200 years ago this year, the Swiss-born explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt alias Sheikh Ibrahim rediscovered the city of Petra: a marvel in the Jordanian desert that had been forgotten by the outside world for centuries. Burckhardt’s rediscovery laid the cornerstone for the exploration of the mysterious city, which today is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Petra: Exit of Siq looking at the tomb façade ‘Khazne Firaun’. Photo: Andreas Voegelin, Antikenmuseum Basel.

Petra was the capital of the Nabataeans. This ancient nomadic people settled in the desert more than 2,000 years ago and turned a remote valley into a vibrant city with impressive monuments and a well-developed water collection system.

Building relief from the Nabataean temple of Khirbet et-Tannur: bust of a so-called fish-goddess, limestone, first century CE (Amman, Citadel Museum). Photo: Andreas Voegelin, Antikenmuseum Basel. Property of the Department of Antiquities, Jordan.

The exhibition will highlight some of the most important archaeological discoveries from ancient Petra. It will present loaned artefacts from various museums in Jordan, accompanied by video and virtual reality. Together they showcase the trading and cultural connections of the Nabataeans and how they managed to build and irrigate a flourishing city in what is today one of the most arid areas of the world.

View into the exhibition. Photo: Andreas Voegelin, Antikenmuseum Basel.

The exhibition also features stunning works of art from Petra that are characterised by a variety of styles, including the well-known Greek and Roman as well as more abstract forms.
In cooperation with the Department of Antiquites of Jordan and the Jordan Museum, the exhibition will be on display until March 17, 2013.

Further information are available on the website of Antikenmuseums Basel.

Here you will find a 3D-tour on Petra.

I personally like this film on paintings from Petra drawn in the early 1800s.