30th March – Petra, Jordan   1 comment

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It’s about 1.5km from the car park to the entrance of the Petra gorge. Not far, but tiring in the desert heat. You can travel by pony and trap.

 

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Petra, the ‘rose-red city half as old as time’ lies in the mountains of Jordan, a two-hour drive over the border from Eilat. We booked with Desert Eco-tours, an Eilat company. They picked us up from our hostel and took us to the border crossing. An hour or so later we were through all the searches and formalities and on a Jordanian tour bus.

Petra, Arabic for stone, is an archaeological city famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system. The location for many feature films, notably one of the Indiana Jones films. I have wanted to visit for decades, but last time I visited Israel (1986) the border was still closed. I had considered flying to Jordan just to visit Petra, but when I found that this could be incorporated into our Israel tour I jumped at the chance.

Petra was possibly established as early as 312 BC and was the capital of the Nabataeans. Situated in bowl in the mountains it remained hidden to the western world until 1812. Then Nabataeans were great traders importing goods from as far away as Yemen. As the civilisation grew they expanded beyond the confines of Petra and this brought them to the notice of the Roman Empire which in due course conquered them. After the decline of the Roman empire the location of the site was lost to all but local tribesmen.

Although it was a long day, with a lot of faffing to get a few hours of sightseeing, Petra fulfilled all my expectations; the glimpse of the Treasury seen through the narrow chasm remains one of the most memorable from any man-made site in the world. It was, due to the holiday season, rather crowded and noisy but it was still one of the highlights of the trip.

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We entered the narrow chasm which extends for nearly another kilometre.

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The chasm was once about 6m deeper but was filled in by the Romans after they conquered the area so that chariots could be driven through.

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Sunlight illuminates a bush in the canyon.

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At last we see one of the most wonderful views in the world – the sunlight Treasury of Petra framed by the dark walls of the chasm.

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There is no evidence that this was ever a treasury, but this is the name by which it now known.

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Details of the architecture.

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Just one word from Margaret – ‘Gosh!’

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Unfortunately due it being holiday season, Petra was packed with tourists.

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Local traders hassle you to take a camel ride.

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There is a lot more to Petra than just the Treasury. Most of the remaining buildings are tombs. Most of the Nabateean’s living quarters were destroyed by an earthquake.

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The amphitheatre

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The area is composed of sandstone which was laid down in layers over the aeons forming the banding in this cave.

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Up close the rock formations are really beautiful.

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As well as the Nabataean ruins, remains of a Byzantine villa remain ………

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….. with wonderful floor mosaics.

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Hot and tired we took advantage of a horse ride back to the bus.

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Eventually we returned to the border for lengthy checks before we were allowed back into Israel.

Posted April 23, 2013 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

One response to “30th March – Petra, Jordan

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  1. The wonderfull Petra tours a standout amongst the most wonder and compositionally significant tourist destinations on the planet

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