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Petra celebrates 17th anniversary as one of World’s New Seven Wonders

By JT - Jul 09,2024 - Last updated at Jul 09,2024

Known as the Rose-red city, Petra embodies ancient Arab civilisation and draws millions of tourists from around the world (JT File photo)

AMMAN — With nearly 3,000 years of history, Petra, designated as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World 17 years ago, is renowned for its unique blend of history, culture and nature, making it a global masterpiece.

Known as the Rose-red city, Petra embodies ancient Arab civilisation and draws millions of tourists from around the world to experience this unique city in the heart of Jordan.

To mark the 17th anniversary of Petra’s designation as one of the New Seven Wonders, the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA) illuminated the main path of the rose-red city from the Visitors’ Centre, through iconic landmarks like the Siq, the Treasury and the Theatre, to the Court.

The event, on Sunday evening, featured folkloric performances and folk bands in the area of the tourist road, transforming Wadi Musa into a vibrant celebration, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra.

As part of the celebrations, selected Petra landmarks such as the Treasury, the Theatre and the Court were illuminated from the inside and outside, and a light show was staged to highlight the wonders of Petra, including a spectacular formation of the number 7 in front of the Treasury.

The PDTRA invited the minister of tourism and antiquities, Makram Qaisi, several ambassadors from key tourism markets and Jean-Paul de la Fuente, director of the New7Wonders Foundation, to showcase the region’s exceptional tourism offering.

Faris Briezat, chief commissioner of PDTRA, said that celebrating Petra as one of the New Seven Wonders has become a tradition that reflects the authority’s commitment to developing and marketing the city locally, regionally and globally by improving tourism services, establishing tourist trails, installing signage and training staff to provide the best service to visitors and protect the site.

The PDTRA has a comprehensive plan to promote the region in all aspects and is working with all partners to market Petra in the best possible way and to address the impact of the decline in tourist numbers due to the war against Gaza, he said.

Fuente said that Petra is a key partner in promoting global development and has a vital role in enhancing cultural and tourism experiences worldwide.

He added that the authority’s celebration, in cooperation with the New7Wonders Foundation, would further market the rose-red city around the world.

Petra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985, marking its journey to global recognition. 

In 2007, the ancient city was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, competing against over 21 international sites. It became the second wonder, and its distinctive features have made it a top destination for several celebrities and tourists. Today, it stands as Jordan’s most important symbol and the most attractive tourist destination in the region.

Since 2007, the number of tourists visiting Petra has fluctuated, influenced by the economic and political conditions that determine the activity of the tourism sector.

Since 2018, tourist numbers have increased significantly, reaching the milestone of one million visitors for the first time in 2019. 

The number of tourists fell in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2023, Petra again exceeded one million visitors for the second time in its history, but the Israeli war on Gaza had a significant impact on the tourism sector in Petra, leading to a significant decline in visitor numbers.

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