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The Nabataean city of Humeima (ancient Hawara) an important historical site, as it is a city that was founded by the Nabataeans, and survived only into the Byzantine era. During the Muslim conquests, the Abbasid family maintained a large house and a mosque here, and from this site they launched their takeover of the Muslim Empire. The Muslim section of the city was on the south side, and probably much of the city was in ruins during their time, due to several devastating earthquakes. (19 May 363; 9 July 551)
Ancient Hawar was the only substantial settlement in the Hismā Desert in southern Jordan some 40 kilometers south of Petra. The environment is bleak desert characterized by sparse desert vegetation. A limited amount of agriculture and animal husbandry is possible in the area. Today only a few nomads live seasonally in the vicinity of the site; the modern village of New Humayma is located some 7 kilometers to the southeast.

Ancient Hawar was a small trading post and caravan way-station in Edom. It was founded by the Nabatean King Aretas III (87-52 BC) probably to serve as a centre for sedentarization of the nomadic Nabatean pastoralists who occupied the area. In 106 AD the Nabatean Kingdom became the Roman Province of Arabia and shortly thereafter a 500 person Roman fort was built at Hawar. The modest settlement prospered into the Byzantine period as indicated by the 5-6 churches identified on the site.