This page is dedicated to Vivian, a genuine Petra nut

In the south desert of Jordan there is an ancient city, with many buildings carved out of sandstone cliffs that are more than 130 feet high (40 meters)

Petra was founded in about the second century B.C. by the Nabateans--Bedouins who were very successful in the trade of silk, spices, medicines, and asphalt

It is one of the New7Wonders Foundation's seven wonders of the world

Come, put on some comfortable shoes and take a walk with me through Petra




After entering Petra's main gate, you walk for a quarter mile or so along a low, open valley.

Undistinguished, just to get you used to having stone all around you.





The paved walkway is for tourists, the dirt track for horses





But pretty soon along this way you get a preview of some of the massive stone carvings you'll see



These are called Djinn Blocks, associated with malevolent spirits of Arab folklore.


They are tower tombs.




While across the way, along the same track, is the Obelisk Tomb, giving you the first preview of the way functional rooms are carved out of cliff faces.





After that quarter mile, the openness disappears, and you enter upon an eighth of a mile of the Siq--the path along what resembles a slot canyon of the American Southwest.




It's easy walking, being slightly downhill (though less charming when returning from four or five hours of walking in Petra)






It's a busy thoroughfare




with varied modes of transport





and all the while, majestic stone cliffs on each side




along with evidence of the hydraulic engineering practiced by those Nabateans





...and then, you get a peek at the real stuff





Yeah, you get a look at the Treasury






you enter upon a plaza, and are presented with this dramatic spectacle.

I mean, check it out--compare the size of that structure to the height of those humans.





Then assess the elgance of the structure









the grace, the fine lines



Upon leaving the plaza of the Treasury, you pass along the Outer Siq...





...which leads to the Street of Facades, a series of tombs carved into the stone cliffs...







...which leads to a very large open area, and the ruins of an elegant Roman theater




Facing that wide open area across from the theater, are the Royal Tombs, burial places carved into the stone cliff 




Here's a slightly different view of them




And a more close-up view




I wouldn't have thought they had white plastic furniture back then, but I didn't doctor this photo

They help you in grasping the scale, though, don't they?





From the ledge in front of the Royal Tombs, you look out over an extension of that wide space I referred to





Jagged stone mountains in the distance, and a vast open area in the near view



Looking back on the Royal Tombs, it's an impressive sight

Notice the standing columns along the Colonnaded street in the lower right




Here's a slightly different view of that street




and standing on that street, looking back at the Royal Tombs





with a closer view




Along that street lie the ruins of the Great Temple




It is currently being restored by a group from Brown University

It is one of the few free-standing structures





At the end of the Colonnaded Street  is Qasr al-bint, The Castle of Pharoah's Daughter 




The Colonnaded Street is seen here center left, with Qasr al-bint smack in the center




Later in this walk we'll visit the High Place of Sacrifice

Here's a shot of Qasr al-bint (slightly to left of center) from that high place

Continue to Page 2 of Petra

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