Petra and the solstice – Archaeoastronomers recently measured the celestial alignments of monuments in Petra, Jordan, and found many line up with the setting of the sun during solstices and equinoxes.
Petra and the solstice – The new information potentially sheds light on what function some of these monuments might have had thousands of years ago, as well as provide insights on the religion of the ancient Nabateans.
Petra and the solstice – Al Deir, a structure also known as "The Monastery", seems particularly well-suited to meet this theory. The study's leader says his findings might prove the structure was used as a temple, and not simply as burial tombs.
Petra and the solstice – Though compelling, some experts question whether the Nabateans would have intentionally built their ancient capital to align with these celestial events.
Petra and the solstice – Regardless, the study's leader notes "the lighting is spectacular" at Petra during the summer and winter solstices and the equinox.