Saturday 28 May 2011

Jordan: Rose-Red City of Petra

Al Dayr, the Monastery, Petra, Jordan
Al Dayr, the Monastery

A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985 and one of the 7 new wonders of the world, Petra is also known as the rose-red city half as old as time. Established in 6th century BC and later became an important caravan and trade route, Petra was "lost" to the world and was only rediscovered in early 19th century. Nowadays it is perhaps the most popular and most visited place of interests in Jordan.

Jabal Harun, Mount Aaron, Petra, Jordan

Far out in the middle is Jabal Harun (Mount Aaron), and the "white dot" on the top of the mountain is a 13th century shrine dedicated to Prophet Aaron (peace be upon him), who's supposedly buried there. My guide told me that it would take more than half a day to walk all the way there and if one intends to do that, one should spend at least 3 days in Petra.

Petra, Jordan

A tomb that was carved out by the Nabateans in the 1st century AD

Al Siq, the Gate of Shaft, Petra, Jordan
Start of Al Siq (The Gate of Shaft)

Al Siq is about 1.2km long and 3m to 16m wide. It is a natural gorge of geological formation, which Nabateans widened in parts by carving out the rock, and paved in the 1st century BC. One can see there once stood a monumental arch at the "entrance". Visitors can by the way pay for a horse-drawn carriage ride or a donkey ride if they can't be bothered to walk the 1.2km long Al Siq.

Al Siq, the Gate of Shaft, Petra, Jordan

Part of the wider Siq area. Note the cobbled stone paveway... On either side of the Siq by the way, water channels with basins are carved out. The southern channel is hollowed out of the rock and was originally covered by sandstone and limestone to prevent evaporation and contamination.

Al Siq, the Gate of Shaft, Petra, Jordan

One of the basins to "catch" the heavier particles in the water to ensure that the water that flows further down the channel is "clean".

Al Siq, the Gate of Shaft, Petra, Jordan

One of the many colourful rock formations that can be found along Al Siq

Al Siq, the Gate of Shaft, Petra, Jordan

Almost at the end of Al Siq

al Khaznah, The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

Finally a sight to truly behold! Al Khaznah! The Treasury!

al Khaznah, The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

Al Khaznah, the Treasury, in all its glory. And it's all carved out...

Petra, Jordan

More tombs... The "staircase" at the top of the structure is of Assyrian influence. From left, the downward staircase represents "from life to death" and the upward staircase represents "the rise from death to heaven".

Petra, Jordan
The street of the facades
Combines a series tombs situated next to each other

The Urn Tomb, Petra, Jordan
The Urn Tomb

Petra, Jordan

Waiting for customers

Colonnaded Street, Petra, Jordan

Colonnaded Street with Monumental Gate at the end of it

Petra, Jordan

Doing the 800++ steps walk up the hill to Al Dayr, the Monastery. The climb might be tiring, particularly on a hot summer day, but the donkey ride on the other hand might be a bit scary for some... or maybe it's just me... :-S

Petra, Jordan

Visitors have to walk past this path way (on the left) going up and down the hill. Just make sure you (or your donkey) don't slip :-D

Al Dayr, The Monastery, Petra, Jordan

800++ steps up the mountain later... this is the view that you get: Al Dayr, the Monastery. Measuring about 47m wide and about 48m high, this was the location of the hidden Tomb of the Primes in the film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallens

Al Dayr, The Monastery, Petra, Jordan

View of Al Dayr, the Monastery, from further up the hill. Do you think the view is worth the climb?

TIPS: Wear comfortable walking shoes and a cap/hat, use sun block lotion, and always have with you plenty of drinking water. Allocate at least 1 day here (with an early morning start) in Petra if you would like to climb up all the way to Al Dayr, the Monastery.

Musa Moses Spring, Wadi Musa, Moses Valley, Jordan

A slight detour and just a short drive from Petra, in Wadi Musa (Moses Valley), is Musa Spring, apparently not as famous as the nearby Petra... 

Musa Moses Spring, Wadi Musa, Moses Valley, Jordan

This is the rock, which according to Arab's tradition, supposedly split and sprang water out when Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) used his rod onto it. Nowadays spring water runs right from underneath it.

For more information and tips on visiting Petra, see official Visit Petra website.. This ancient archaeological site closes at 6 p.m. in summer and 4 p.m. in winter so it's better to head there early in the morning particulary as it is quite a climb to Monastery. The site opens at around 6 a.m. daily by the way.

I stayed overnight at Petra Palace Hotel, a 3* hotel located just about 300m from the entrance of Petra Park. The booking arrangement however was done through Jordan Direct Tours, a division of Jordan Select Tours.

For other www.RambleAndWander.com postings on Jordan, click here.


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