Petra. Wow. Petra.
I'm not sure I can adequately describe the grandeur of this ancient city. It is absolutely without question one of the most impressive places I've had the great fortune to visit. Dating back to 300 BC, it was originally the home of the Nabataeans. Until about 20 years ago, this intricately carved city was home to the Bedouins who have since moved to the nearby city of Wasi Musa or into their traditional tents.
You enter the city through a long and narrowing passage of red and black waving sandstone called the Siq and at the end, catch a teasing glimpse of the Treasury and what is to come. You catch your breath.
A Glimpse of the Treasury (and a couple of dogs who came to greet us)
Walking through the opening the full impact of this impressive structure hits you. Breathtaking, and you can't help but think of Harrison Ford and The Raiders of the Lost Ark.
the treasury, with camels awaiting riders
a real bedouin, in full regalia! How cool is that?
Donkey Ride up to the Monastery
The Treasury is only one of over 800 relics in Petra, but the most famous by far. We wandered through the city and chanced upon a local Bedouin, Aman (not the one above), offered us donkey rides up to two of the other major highlights: the High Place and the Monastery. Since it's thousands of steps, the donkeys were very well cared for and healthy, we took him up on his offer. There's no way I could have hiked up to these sites without good old "Mickey Mouse," sure footed and steady.
Along the Trail
Along the trail, Aman introduced to one of his Bedouin relatives who served us tea, a Jordanian tradition. She also showed us artifacts from Petra's history, such as old coins and some surprising ancient oil lamps with pornographic images on the back. Who knew the Nabataeans were a bit racy?
view from the top
The Monastery is far bigger and well preserved as compared to the Treasury. It's also WAY up top! Thus, a donkey ride for me.