Petra - Jordan

posted Dec 25, 2010, 8:03 AM by Darren Cannell   [ updated Dec 25, 2010, 11:19 PM ]
Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is often described as the ‘Rose City’.  It is said that Petra is one of the 40 places that you should see before you die and I would definitely agree.  You walk down into this canyon where there is a narrow path, enough for two carriages to pass and both sides are flanked by steep rock canyon walls of various colors mixed into its walls.  Along the path there are sculptures, doors, windows and steps carved into the walls.  To fully explore this city you need to walk at least 5 kms, but it is all worth it.  When you think you have seen the whole city then another wonder is just around the corner.  Petra is approximately 2000 years old and was built by the Nabataeans. They were an advanced culture because excavations have proven that the Nabataeans had the ability to control their own water supply.  This led to their success as a people.  The area is prone to flash floods and the Nabataeans used dams and cisterns to control and store the water and then sell to camel caravans, traders etc.  Petra has a whole aqueduct system carved into both sides of the canyon leading up to it.

After walking about 1 ½ kms down this beautiful path that is lined by huge paving stones laid 2000 years ago, you see the breathtaking ‘treasury’ building that is featured on many Hollywood movies, like Indiana Jones and Stargate.  It really does take your breath away, because it is in the middle of the desert and it is this huge beautiful carving in the side of a rock and it is the frontage to a building used extensively during the Nabataean times.  The Nabataeans were conquered by Alexander the Great and the Romans but still they seemed to survive.  Christianity made it to Petra in the 4th century and we saw many church ruins etc.  Petra is mentioned many times in the bible but with different names like ‘the rock’ etc.

There is a large amphitheatre where teaching and musicals occurred and other large buildings with many columns and many tombs for burial of the rich and the poor.  You can even go into some of the buildings and climb up these ancient steps for even better views.  I had been very ill the night before with food poisoning and felt like hell but there was no way that I was missing Petra.  It is an amazing testament to a people that managed to create a man made oasis in the middle of a barren desert.  You should put Petra on your bucket list.