Petra, a City Carved in Stone

Trip Start Nov 10, 2013
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Trip End Dec 04, 2013


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Friday, November 22, 2013

The good news is we got to rest another day at sea before we reached Aqaba, Jordan, the gateway to Petra. The bad news is our tour left at 6 AM for our 13 hour trip to Petra and Wadi Rum so we left in the dark and returned in the dark, but oh what a day! It was worth every painful moment and is the current highlight of the trip-a must do if you are ever in the area.

Unfortunately ,not much is known about Petra. It is believed to have started as a cemetery;  it grew into a city of thousands of people. What makes it truly unique in the world is that it is carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, a nomadic Arab people who settled here over 2000 years ago. It is believed to be been established around the 6th century BC. It was an important junction on the trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia to Egypt, Greece, Rome and Syria. Petra was hidden in the mountains and remained that way until rediscovered in 1812 by a Swiss explorer. Today it is considered one of the wonders of the ancient world.

One must walk about 1.2 km through a narrow canyon ( called a Siq) with walls that are 80 meters high. It reminded us of antelope canyon in Arizona, but on a larger scale. The rock is limestone so there are a multitude of colors exhibited in the rock faces. At end of the walk is the famous picture we have all seen, that of the Treasury building. It is huge. 30 meters (90 feet ) wide and 43 meters high carved out of pink rock faced cliffs. It was created in the 1st century AD as the tomb of an important Nabataen king.

Beyond that are hundreds of rock- cut tombs and even a roman style theatre that would hold 3000 people. There are obelisks, temples, sacrificial altars and colannaded streets as part of the complex. earthquakes over the millennia has destroyed and buried many of the structures but 500 have survived. We were told that only 60 % of the site has been discovered and explored so far.

Needless to say it is one of those "OMG" moments when you see it. To really explore Petra fully you need several days. We only saw the highlights as we had another area to see and experience-Wadi Rum.

That experience will be covered in the next blog.

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Comments

Annette Landvatter on

Fabulous pictures and the one of "Charles of Arabia" is absolutely the best!!!
Hugs Annette

ps been busy making "glazed pecans" and dk chocolate covered toffy.

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