Archaeological Institute of America

8000 spectators could sit together in the Main Theater at Petra. 33 rows of seats were carved from a sheer rock cliff and arranged in three tiers, each divided into six sections. The dark square openings, which appear to be giant projection rooms on the rear wall of the structure, are the remains of tombs cut away to make room for the theater. Probably dating to the reign of King Aretas IV (9 B.C.–40 A.D.), the Roman style theater was built by the Nabataeans, although later construction was probably done by the Romans after their conquest of Petra in 106 A.D. The raised stage has been partially restored by the Jordanian Department of Antiquities.