Since 1985 Petra is a UNESCO world heritage monument. The region is considered to have been habited by the Nabatean, an ancient civilization that was victim of a natural disaster (see Prophet Salih). It is believed that the only proof of their existence is their astonishing sculptures. However, some Bedouins still live within the famous caves of Petra. They claim the heritage of the Nabatean's civilisation, no one truly knows how long they have been living in those caves neither do we know their origins. They are also known as Gypsy by the residents of Petra city. For the ease of tourism and the preservation of the site, the Jordanian government built a well-equipped village nearby to allow the Bedouins to settle at ease away from the caves. In the late 20es, a full migration of 35 families, 6 tribes, 4 000 persons moved from the caves to the village.
After some time living in the village, few families could not adapt to the new life in the village they tremendously missed the caves, hence around two to three families went back to the caves preferring the quietness. The cons of this nomadic lifestyle are that children go to school riding a donkey for over 40 minutes, childrens are also exposed to an inherited dialect (a mixture of pure Arabic and Aramaic language) therefore they have some difficulties at school. The nearest hospital is an hour and half away. A total exclusion of modern facilities, the Bedouins of the caves enjoy this secluded life and feel proud to perpetuate the tradition.
Although most of the new generation have settled in different parts of Jordan, some still work on the site, they sell their art crafts for a living and propose guiding tours for tourists. In the evening they recite poems and stories of past generations around tea and sweets.
Meeting with Ahmed Bedouins living in the caves, he says: " Sometimes is hard to unite with the citizen of Petra because they don't value us and don't accept our lifestyle, but we are happy and proud to be part of Jordan and we are all Muslims and that is what matters at the end." Many Westerners have bought our caves and come for summer vacation as they have been stressed by their stressful lifestyle. No one can judge if living in a cave is comfortable or not until they have tried it themselves. "
Meeting with Abdullah, owner of Candle Hotel, one of the nearest hotels from the site, claims to have a long family heritage living in Petra: " Life is quiet in Petra, we enjoy welcoming the tourists, they make us travel while they are traveling. We have a pretty safe community here, food, tea, and festivities we enjoy sharing our mystical history of past civilisation. The Bedouins are helpful but stay aware, we never know who we can truly trust. We have a range of activities, don't just go for the picture a front of the famous facade, there is so much to do here that you need at least a week to discover it all."