Queen Rania Inaugurates the “Petra: Lost City of Stone” Exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York

October 14, 2003

(Office of Her Majesty – Press Department – New York) - “Petra offers an enduring message to all mankind” Queen Rania says as 'Petra: Lost City of Stone' opens in New York

On a three-day visit to the United States to promote cross cultural dialogue, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah inaugurated the “Petra: Lost City of Stone” exhibition as the first major cultural collaboration between Jordan and the U.S. at the American Museum of Natural History.

As a leading voice for peace, understanding and cross-cultural dialogue, Queen Rania’s participation at the opening of the exhibition reflects her efforts aimed at bridging cultural divides and deepening understanding between peoples of the world.

Queen Rania has for long spearheaded efforts to encourage dialogue which enables individuals and nations to better understand the internal dynamics of different civilizations and contribute to eliminating the root causes of some of the world’s conflicts.

Petra: Lost City of Stone is the most comprehensive exhibition ever presented on the ancient city of Petra, and its creators, the Nabataeans.

It features approximately 200 exceptional objects on loan from collections in Jordan, and Europe, and some 25 drawings, 19th-century paintings, and prints.

Among the highlights of the exhibition is the reuniting of two halves of stone sculpture dating from A.D. 100 for the first time in more than 1,500 years.

“In Jordan, we are proud to be the trustees of this heritage of hope…and bear with pride our responsibility to share it with our region and the rest of the world,” Queen Rania said in remarks marking the opening of the exhibition.

She added that like Nabateans, Jordanians “carved out a special and unique role as a bridge between diverse regions and cultures, and like them, are a peaceful culture committed to international commerce and dialogue.”

“Petra, I believe, offers an enduring message to all mankind … Petra teaches us that nothing is impossible and that even the bleakest and most barren situation contains the promise of hope,” said Queen Rania, who was met by Ms. Ellen Futter, President of the Museum and Mr. Lewis Bernard, Trustees Chairman.

In her welcoming remarks, Ms. Futter, who described Her Majesty “as an eloquent ambassador for Jordan and the Middle East, and one of modern Jordan’s treasures,” said that the American Museum of Natural History is honored to present the remarkable artifacts of which Jordan is so justly proud, adding “Queen Rania has become one of the world’s most respected proponents of international tolerance and cross-cultural dialogue and her efforts in furthering these ideals have inspired people around the globe.”

Amongst the key masterworks at the exhibition, are the monumental head of the Nabataean god Dushara, a life-size cast bronze statue of the goddess Artemis, and a marble head of a Roman emperor.

The exhibition is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, the Cincinnati Arts Museum, the Jordanian Ministry of Tourism, the Department of Antiquities, and the American Center for Oriental Research in Amman.

The exhibition will be on view in New York City through July 6, 2004, and then travel to the Cincinnati Art Museum in September 2004 and subsequently to several other venues in the United States and Canada.

The Petra exhibition is part of a notable week for Jordan in the U.S., with another major event featuring Jordan taking place at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. “Exploring Jordan” will feature various aspects of Jordanian life – culture, crafts, and natural beauty – as well as highlight Jordan’s economic potential as a gateway to doing business throughout the entire Middle East.