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Archeoastronomers Demonstrate Petra is Aligned to the Solstices and Equinoxes

In this article, archeoastronomers at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) explain how they were able to demonstrate that several buildings in the ancient city of Petra in Jordan are aligned to celestial alignments such as the solstices and equinoxes. Their results were published in the Nexus Network Journal.

The Monastery at Petra is aligned to the winter solstice sunrise, letting the sun enter its temple and illuminate a sacred podium.
(Photo credit: photo taken by Diego Delso,, License CC-BY-SA.)

The results of their study showed that during certain times of the year, such as the winter solstice, the sun would highlight or align with some of the city’s most important buildings…

One of Belmonte’s most fascinating discoveries is tied to the winter solstice, which the Nabateans may have believed was related to the birth of their main god, Dushara, he said.

During the winter solstice in Petra, the setting sun creates effects of light and shadow around a sacred podium inside the monument known as Ad Deir, or the Monastery, where the Nabateans may have held religious festivities.~ Christine Dell’Amore on National Geographic

About the author

Jenny Belikov

Jenny Belikov is a researcher and practitioner of the ancient religion of the sun and the Managing Editor for The Spiritual Sun, where she also researches and writes about ancient sacred sites; spiritual texts and practices; the latest discoveries in archeology, archeoastronomy, and related sciences; as well as the exploration of various facets of the lost civilization of the sun.


  • Very interesting finding, thank you for bringing it up. I like when science is rallied to the side of uncovering hidden sources related to lost spirituality or practices that have first been emanated and lost their significance during the time.

    As I was intrigued by this post, I also tried to understand more about this place and its history. It’s really an ancient city that I would like to visit too!

    I realized then that the presence of that Monastery can be very justified, and its role in the celebration of the winter solstice has also a place here. Probably because Petra was developed in the past into an important crossroad of trade routes that were linking China, India and southern Arabia with many other nations on the west; something that in fact brought in their wake changes and influences on both cultural-spiritual and economical levels too.

    But I feel that it is always hard to say when these bringers of knowledge appeared, in combination with the excellent Nabatean architects who ”played” with the classic architecture and created such a great complex of buildings.

    I think that an inner knowledge is mostly more reliable here to prove it.

  • Reading about sacred sites aligned with solstices and equinoxes, I was wondering what’s going on with this one. Great to see it here! It’s one that attracts me more than others, I don’t know why, (maybe Indiana Jones movie… 🙂 ) I’m hoping not be damaged from terrorist attacks, as I read there was this threat and to visit it one day.

    “built their city with the sky in mind” I also liked that

    Thanks for posting it!

    • It gave me also the chance to read a bit about the local religion the Nabataean Religion which sounds very interesting and gave me another view of the pre-Islamic cults, which I knew only from the Egyptian civilizasion before.

      thanks again!

  • Quite nice and mysterious to me these monasteries and this ancient city. I know very little about them myself.

    There’s definitely a certain beauty to those buildings especially in conjunction with the natural rocky valley surroundings there. Interesting that so little is known about who these people were that were there…. Yet there’s a beauty there and buildings that align to the solstices. It makes me wonder who they were? Where did their knowledge come from? Like a little ‘island’ of a certain culture in time for 300-400 years and to then disappear again?

    Another quote from the article: “Study leader Belmonte believes that his team’s research has shed new light on the little-understood ancient city, 85 percent of which remains unexcavated. “

    It’s interesting to see, if I understand correctly from the percentage of buildings of a religious nature, how big a part religion or spiritual matters played in their life. Nowadays where I live there is virtually almost nothing, apart of course from the many churches remaining, but they’re from a different time and not in use.

    I wouldn’t mind visiting those places to see what it feels like.

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