Meeting the current challenges of cultural heritage conservation in Petra

The Treasury in Petra
© Wilhelm 2018
"The Treasury" (Al-Khazneh = "the safe").
View of the royal tombs in Petra
© Wilhelm 2018
View of the royal tombs in Petra.

Petra was once the capital of the Nabataean Empire and was an important trading center from the 5th century B.C. to the 3rd century A.D. Its role changed greatly under the Roman Empire, which eventually led to its decline. It was not until the 19th century that the ruins of the city were rediscovered, followed by systematic excavations from the 1920s onwards. In 1985, UNESCO added Petra to the World Heritage List.

Today, ancient Petra is located in a national park and is a much visited site. In total, about 800 monuments carved into the rock have been found, many of which have been damaged by weathering and earthquakes. The constantly growing number of tourists is also contributing to the decay.

In order to support the sustainable preservation of the cultural heritage site of Petra, Fraunhofer IBP and Fraunhofer IMW - together with local stakeholders - are developing a concept for a local education and training program that will familiarize young conservationists and scientists with the current challenges of cultural heritage conservation in a practical and international exchange.

The focus of the project is on:

  • Analyzing the status quo with regard to current conservation measures
  • Documenting the conservation status and prioritizing measures
  • Analyzing the needs and expectations of local stakeholders
  • Developing roadmaps for conservation processes
  • Developing an education and training concept

Project goals

In close cooperation with local decision-makers, the Cultural Heritage Research Group will carry out an analysis of current conservation work at the site, with a particular focus on the materials and construction techniques used in Petra. Based on this, a concept for initiating an on-site training program will be developed, as well as a road map for further developing conservation methods.


Status of the project

An initial contact has been established with Jordanian partners and an on-site meeting is currently under preparation.

Projekt Partner

  • Fraunhofer IBP
  • Fraunhofer IMW
  • Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA)
Logo Federal Foreign Office
© Federal Foreign Office
The project is sponsored by the Federal Foreign Office.