CAN YOU SEE PETRA?
No, you can't --because it is hidden.
Up early this morning in the desert camp for flat bread with butter and cherry jam and hot tea. We are taking the 4WD back to the main road to catch our bus that is taking us to Wadi Mousa. The ruins of Petra are within the region of this town..
Petra is one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. It was the hone of the biblical Edomites back in 1200BC. It was also the strong hold of the Nabataeans, who were 6th century (C). Arabic nomads. They were good warriors and established a wealthy and powerful kingdom. They plundered their neighbors and taxed the passing caravans. Even the Romans left them alone when they conquered the area to reign over the caravans until106 AD, when they finally succumbed to the Roman rule. The Romans then changed the trade route to go through Bosra in Syria and Petra was lost to the world.
It is truly a hidden city. The entrance to the city (Al Siq) is gained by a natural fissure in the rock probably caused by ancient eruptions. You have to walk along through this 1200 meter long, and 80 meters deep
MIND THE GAP
Oh wait we're not in London.
narrow gorge to get to the city. Along the way there are bizarre geological formations, colorful rocks and a water channels cut into the rocks to collect and divert rainfall and water sources and ancient carvings. The locals knew of its existence but was lost to the world until l812 when a Swiss explorer discovered it.
The most notable building is that of the Al Khazneh or the Treasury of Indiana Jones Fame. It is 30 meters wide and 43 Meters high. It was carved in the 1st C, as a tomb of a Nabataean king.
There is the area called the Street of Facades which are a row of Nabataean tombs with intricate carvings. During Roman occupation they built an amphitheater that can hold 3000 then later extended to hold 7000. A truly magnificent site.
Scattered throughout the city are many royal tombs, but the names of the inhabitants have been lost. Only the Sexitius Florentinus Tomb named for the Roman governor that ruled here around 130AD.
The Ad-Deir or the Monastery is only reached after climbing 800 steps. Of course all very steep and winding up the mountain. This is a massive carved tomb
THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD
2.5 kilometers to be exact
resembling the treasury but the carvings are simplified. This was an important pilgrimage site.
During the Byzantine time these tombs were used as churches and some of their designs were carved into the rocks as well.
The journey to view Petra was difficult but exhilarating. The weather is warm and not a lot of breeze as we are surrounded by rock. We walked down through the gorge with our Jordanian tour guide and he pointed out all items of interest. Then he told our group that he wanted to show us something special. We all had to stand along the right wall and as we walked we had to run our hands along the surface of the rock. Then we had to stop at a bend, close our eyes and take two steps forward then look to our right. When we opened our eyes there was the Treasury in front of us. We had arrived. It was beautiful. Indiana Jones was not there at the time.
We walked and walked and our guide took us over rocks and sandy tracks to view the amphitheater from above. We were high up on a cliff. Angie lay on her
stomach and looked over the side. No stopping this girl. Francine crawled near the edge and stopped tentatively laying on her stomach near the edge and facing her fears. Yay, getting braver.
We tackled the 800 steps to the Monastery and were rewarded with great views along the way and a great sight at the top, along with chocolate and coke. Next was the walk back down the steps. We made it back to the Treasury and decided to to cut out the remaining two km of our walk to the entrance. We took a carriage ride from the Treasury to the entrance, however the cobblestone made the ride less enjoyable but a relief all the same.
We walked about 12 km throughout the day. We were satisfied with that.
Petra is a site not to be missed as it is truly a wonder!!
After leaving Petra and after an exhausting day we take the time for a Swiss Ice Cream Break on our way back to the hotel. It came highly recommended and we really enjoyed it and deserved it too. The nice thing about eating sugar is that it give you a short burst
of energy. So we decide to do a little silver shopping. The shop is highly recommended by our tour leader and we spend 1.25 hours looking at things. We eventually leave because everything we pick up we are dropping on the floor, that burst of energy ran out. We decide to come back tomorrow when we can really enjoy the shopping.
Angie goes back to the room and Francine decides to join the others for dinner.
WHAT A DAY!!!!
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