Built by the Nabataeans thousands of years ago, the ancient city of Petra was lost to the ages until it was rediscovered by Johann Burckhardt in 1812. Even after its rediscovery, not many visitors came to Petra. It wasn’t until the site was featured in the third Indiana Jones movie in 1989 that visitor numbers started increasing, and today, more than 500,000 people visit annually. Here are some of Petra’s most famous appearances on the big screen.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
In the third installment of the Indiana Jones series, Indy’s quest for the Holy Grail takes him to the Canyon of the Crescent Moon and the Holy Temple, where the Holy Grail was hidden. In reality, the Canyon of the Crescent Moon is the Siq, the narrow gorge that visitors first pass through at Petra, and the Holy Temple is Al Khazneh, or the Treasury, the massive rock-hewn temple and memorial at the end of the Siq. Visitors can walk along the Siq themselves and take in the amazing view as it opens up to Al Khazneh.
The Mummy Returns
Most of the desert scenes in The Mummy Returns were actually shot in Morocco, but some of the train scenes were shot on the Hejaz Railway in Jordan. Petra also makes an appearance, and its canyons and gorges feature in the scenes where the giant wall and skull of water created by Imhotep chase the hero and heroine in a dirigible.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
The second installment of the Transformers franchise features Petra’s Al Deir, or Monastery, as the Tomb of the Primes. In reality, Al Deir is a temple on top of a mountain, which created some logistical difficulties. The scenes were finally shot with the help of the Jordanian Air Force, which lent helicopters to transport the crew and equipment. Visitors will have to climb the more than 800 steps to the top themselves, but viewing the majestic Al Deir and the surrounding scenery makes it all worthwhile.