The Church

Where is the Petra Church

Petra city - the church

The Petra Church is located in the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. Petra was once the thriving Nabataean capital city and today it is an archeological site rich with history and plenty of remains of ancient buildings, temples, roads and of course the Petra Church. There are three churches in Petra the Blue Chapel, the Ridge Church and the Petra Church, the Petra Church is the largest of the three and is thought to have been the most important. The Petra Church is located a few hundred meters up the northern slope of Petra’s main walkway, Colonnade Street.

History of the Petra Church

The 3rd and 4th century saw the height of Christianity in Petra and thus the building of Christian houses of worship. The Petra Church was built in the Byzantine period around 450BC over the remains of Roman and Nabataean buildings. Some of the materials from the Roman and Nabataean period were used to construct the Petra Church, but the church has the famous pink rose colored stone synonymous with Petra. Over the years Petra Church had several renovations and additions to the building including the exquisite mosaic floors and two side aisles. The Petra Church was discovered in 1990 by Kenneth W. Russell. Today The City of Petra and the Petra Church are UNESCO world heritage sites.

The Petra Church which is also regarded as the main church of Petra, was also the site where Jordan’s largest collection of scrolls from the Byzantine period (circa 500AD) were discovered. Although the Petra Scrolls are no longer housed in the Petra Church you can see the room where they were found.

What is there to see in the Petra Church

  • The Petra Church has well preserved Byzantine mosaics covering the extensive floor of the church’s two side aisles. These areas can be seen but not walked on, this is to protect the mosaics. The Petra Church mosaics depict mythical creatures, the elements and symbols of nature, the heavens, plant life and even mankind.
  • There is also a 5th century baptistery in the atrium which is perhaps the biggest in the East and it is also in excellent condition. In the Petra Church’s atrium you can also see the church’s water cistern and wander among the remaining Byzantine columns.
  • The nave of the Petra Church has a beautiful marble and stone floor decorated with geometric shapes.
  • In the Petra Church you can also see chancel screens, a pulpit and the church nave.

The Petra Church originally had columns supporting a second story and a roof which no longer exists, although a covering has been erected to protect the ancient church from the elements.

The Petra Church has undergone many changes through the years as it suffered fires, flash floods, earthquakes and various architectural renovations. Thus you can see the history of this area through the various building materials, mosaics and architecture.

On a visit to the Petra Church you will see what remains of this Byzantine church and it’s exquisite architecture and art. The Petra Church in Petra is still being excavated and perhaps more wonders await discovery.