Picture Perfect Petra
January 27, 2010 - Petra, Jordan When I launched the GoErinGo.com site last June, y’all had a chance to vote on where I should go for an adventure on my next trip: Climbing Mt. Sinai, Diving the Red Sea, or Visiting Petra.
Well, I managed to do all three within the last few days. Whew! After spending yesterday morning ripping through the Wadi Rum desert in pick-up trucks at sunrise, we arrived in Petra about noon to spend the bulk of 2 whole days wandering the ruins. Now, I know I’ve been using the word “amazing,” a lot in the last several posts, but really, AMAZING!
Petra is so un-real it would make your head spin! Check out these wonders from the 1st century.
Petra used to be a main trading station on the Silk Route to India and China way back when. The Nabataeans (I know, I’d never heard of them either) ruled an area that stretched from Damascus to the Sinai from 300 BC to 100 AD. Yeah, that’s right — More than 2200 years ago!
Are you comprehending? So, evidently the Nabataeans used the profits from the caravaneering trade to build tombs for their kings (and common folk too). For the most part, they carved their tombs from the top down into the soft sandstone. After centuries buried under sand, these ruins were rediscovered in 1812.
Petra’s sandstone is a glorious rosy red color, so Petra is often referred to as the “Rose City.” It’s true, the color gradations are marvelous, ranging from deep reds to pinks to yellows and browns.
You enter Petra through As-Siq, a 1200 meter (3/4 of a mile) long narrow gorge, with walls as high as 80 meters (260+ feet). As you walk along this narrow passageway, you need to jump aside for the camels, donkeys and horse-drawn carriages that are ferrying tourists along. Sometimes, there’s not a lot of room in the passageway.
One of Petra’s biggest surprises is that there much more to it than the Treasury made famous by the Indiana Jones movie.
The ruins go on forever, with many yet to be excavated.
In fact, today we spent several hours hiking the cliffs above the temples and looking down on them. Very cool.
After a full day today and several beers in the Cave Bar (a refurbished grave that now sells alcohol to thirsty tourists), I’m both pooped and pleased.
Thanks for voting to send me to Petra
This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 27th, 2010 and is filed under Arab Region.