There’s a New Star in Town, or Maybe a New City, or an Old City?

Do you like movies that include real locations? Or maybe locations with some historical background or significance? What about a movie that has both?

Indy Jones

The 127 minute film that grossed $197,171,806 in America and gave archaeology a new name, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, stars more than just Harrison Ford and Sean Connery. This Steven Spielberg directed film features a special star named Petra.  Petra was used throughout several scenes in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The entrance on the East side of Petra, known as the “Siq” was used as the ‘Canyon of the Crescent Moon’ in the film and leads straight to Al Khazneh, or the Treasury. Actors Ford Harrison and Sean Connery were privileged enough to explore the deep mazes in the Treasury while trying to find the Holy Grail.

Wait, what is Petra?

Petra Picture

According to National Geographic, Petra (Latin for “rock”) was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007 after being named an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.  Found in the Edom Mountains in East Jordan, the once booming trade center of the Nabataean empire, Petra, was “lost” for hundreds of years until it was rediscovered by a man named Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Burckhardt was fluent in Arabic and pretended to be a Muslim traveler before paying two Bedouin men to be his guides as he claimed he wanted to sacrifice a goat to a shrine leading him to locate the long lost city of Petra. Petra has also been called the “rose-red city” probably because of the beautiful red, pink, and orange colors of the Sandstone that make up Petra. National Geographic says that only 15% of the city of Petra has even been discovered while 85% of the city remains underground and undiscovered. Home to many shrines and tombs, Scared Sites states that Petra is where Miriam, the sister of Moses died and was buried.

Does Petra appear in other movies?

The Mummy Returns      Transformers

Petra also appears in the films The Mummy Returns, directed by Stephen Sommers, as the canyon with a water head and in Michael Bay’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen viewers can see Petra being used as the ‘Tomb of the Primes.’

I had always just assumed that most movies use a fake set for the locations in a film, and maybe most do, but I like that these films used real locations and I can appreciate the films more for that. I suppose I should start paying attention to locations in movies more and maybe I will learn something new, or decide to become an actress so I can travel to amazing locations for my job. What do you think of real locations being used in movies?


6 Fictional Places You Didn’t Know Actually Existed | (n.d.). Retrieved from

Bedouin Culture. (n.d.). Retrieved from

The Discovery of Petra. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Film locations for The Mummy Returns (2001). (n.d.). Retrieved from

“Lost City” of Petra Still Has Secrets to Reveal — National Geographic. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Petra. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Petra. (n.d.). Retrieved from

What is Archaeology? (n.d.). Retrieved from


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