To be included on the World Heritage List, These sites must be of outstanding universal value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria, and the states parties manage and conserve these sites by coordination with UNESCO because of its particular importance to countries and local communities, whether cultural or natural.
Situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea and inhabited since prehistoric times, the rock-cut capital city of the Nabateans, became during Hellenistic and Roman times a major caravan centre for the incense of Arabia, the silks of China and the spices of India, a crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia. Petra is half-built, half-carved into the rock, and is surrounded by mountains riddled with passages and gorges.
• Umm er-Rasas
Located south-east of Madaba on the edge of the semi-arid steppe, this archaeological site, which started as a Roman military camp and grew to become a town from the 5th century, is largely unexcavated. It comprises remains from the Roman, Byzantine and Early Muslim periods (end of 3rd to 9th centuries AD) including a fortified Roman military camp and sixteen churches, some with well-preserved mosaic floors. Particularly noteworthy is the mosaic floor of the Church of St Stephen with its representation of towns in the region. A tall square tower and associated buildings are probably the only remains of the practice, well known in this part of the world, of the stylites (ascetic monks who spent time in isolation atop a column or tower). Um er-Rasas is surrounded by, and dotted, with remains of ancient agricultural cultivation, including terracing, water channels and cisterns.
• Quseir Amra
Built in the early 8th century beside the Wadi Butum, a seasonal watercourse, this desert establishment was both a fortress with a garrison and a residence/pleasure palace of the Umayyad caliphate. The exceptionally well-preserved, small pleasure palace comprises a reception hall and hammam (a bath complex with changing room, warm and hot rooms), all richly decorated with figurative murals that reflect the secular art of the time.