My trip to Petra turned out to be shorter than I planned, but a fantastic experience. No surprise that Petra was named “one of the greatest wonders ever wrought by Nature and Man!” I was completely possessed by Petra’s beauty.
Petra is a unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, an industrious Arab people who settled there more than 2000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for the silk, spice and other trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia with Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome. Petra is also sometimes called as the ‘lost city’, as it was completely lost to the western world, in spite of being such an important city in ancient times.
Petra lies on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains that form the eastern flank of Aravah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba.
We had planned a hike to the Monastery, one of the major buildings in Petra for the day. It was truly spectacular, much larger than the Treasury and well preserved, because of the walls on both side and a facing mountain protected it from the wind. In front of the Monastery was a restaurant with shade where we stopped for a break.
Then the next day we planned to visit the Treasury. Wow, I am still just a little amazed as I write this. You walk down a gravel slope, where guides are trying to sell you a mule or carriage ride in. Nope, we preferred walking. Then you pass the start of this amazing society – there are caves, tombs, and funeral blocks along the pathway, where I believe the poorer members of the culture were buried. There were some carvings along the wall, and limestone blocks that supposedly were part of the initial road. Then, you see the glimpse of the treasury – a little bit of a pink structure peaking in through the shadowed Siq walls. This was an incredible experience.
Diving in the spectacular Red Sea, jeep safari driving in the desert, absorbing the enchanting Petra and floating in the Dead Sea, amazing sights, surprises and barbecues in a cave, hiking in Dana Biosphere Reserve, everything… Everything is so perfect there. It was a lot more challenging than I expected. I am extremely happy, proud and humbled by the entire experience.