- "Petra is a brilliant display of man's artistry in turning barren rock into majestic wonder."
- –Edward Dawson
Petra is best built in an area which is predominantly covered in Desert, especially Desert Hills. This can make the surrounding desert produce a very high yield, to make the "Petra Dream." However, do be aware that Petra can only be constructed once per game and therefore it is best to build it in a city with the most Desert tiles to maximize yield potential. Additionally, be warned that since most civilizations cannot construct improvements on Desert tiles to further develop them, these tiles enhanced by Petra may still struggle to keep up even with the bonuses. You should always use caution when settling in the desert, even if Petra is attainable: try to have at least some tiles able to produce Food so as to maintain at least 6-10 Population.
Gathering Storm makes deserts much more desirable thanks to Dust storms, which can significantly improve base yields of Desert tiles! Of course, this won't change the situation with improvements, but it can ensure stable growth at least equal to other cities.
Like every other Ancient or Classical Era Wonder, you should essentially assume you aren't going to build Petra if Qin Shi Huang is in the game. The First Emperor has an even further advantage over other civs than usual at building this Wonder - while others' desert cities need high Production, his needs only enough extant Gold to purchase two Builders.
Situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, Petra is a city cut from the red sandstone around Wadi Musa (now part of Jordan) by the Nabataeans – who obviously had a lot of free time – around 400 BC. Mentioned in Egyptian, Greek and Biblical sources, the city would develop into a major caravan center, a vital crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria to the north. Surrounded by mountains riddled with gorges and canyon passages, it was defensible; but it was the ingenious and extensive system of cisterns and reservoirs in the middle of a desert that made it a trade center. At its peak, Petra was home to perhaps 20 thousand inhabitants, and served as the capital of the Nabataean kingdom. That is, until the Romans arrived and annexed it in 106 AD. Struck by a series of earthquakes, as well as Roman taxes, it was essentially abandoned two hundred years after – not to be “discovered” until 1812 by the Swiss explorer Johann Burckhardt.