Article  Where did the Nabataeans come from? (the builders of Petra)

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EXCERPT: . . . Cut into sandstone and hidden deep inside a mountain cleft, the opulence of Petra — the Nabataean capital that's often called the Rose City — sits at the end of a narrow, 1,200-meter-long passageway. This shadowy path, flanked by 100-meter-high canyon walls of rose-colored sandstone, suggests that the Nabataeans would rather be hidden than seen. They likely chose the rocky citadel of Petra as their capital because it allowed them to blend naturally into the desert surroundings while serving as a fortified stronghold to protect their traded goods from hostile neighbors — such as the Greeks and Romans.

Still, the Nabataeans didn’t come from the city of Petra. In fact, historians know that the Nabataeans lived as nomads in the regions of northwestern Arabia for hundreds of years before the first permanent structures in Petra appeared.

One might further argue that the Nabataeans — due to their love of freedom and preference for nomadic life — didn’t consider Petra as their “home” even at the height of its opulence. According to, Petra could have had 20,000 to 30,000 inhabitants. But most lived in tents across the countryside, smaller villages, caravans or trading ships.

Regardless of whether the Nabataeans saw Petra as a permanent home, it’s clear that they didn’t originate from the Rose City. Instead, Petra grew to become the focal point of these nomadic people for the practical reasons of needing a safe and protected stronghold for trade, commerce and organizing their vast desert kingdom.

Historians agree that the nomadic Nabataeans were inhabiting northwestern Arabia at least by the 4th century B.C. and possibly as early as the 6th century B.C. So, where did the Nabataeans come from before this time if it wasn’t Petra? (MORE - missing details) ===== COVERED: (1) Arab Origin Theory ...... (2) A Confederation of Tribes ..... (3) Babylonian and Aramean Immigrants ..... (4) Persian Origin Theory

The Rise and Fall of the Kingdom of Nabatea ...

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