When the Nabataeans built a city in the middle of nowhere in the mountains of the southern Jordanian desert more than 2,000 years ago, they knew what they were doing. The city, which the Nabataeans named Raqmu but which would later be called Petra under Roman rule, proved to be a strategic location on the trade routes. Investing their empire at Petra brought the Nabataeans riches and glory, for a time. But after their kingdom was annexed by the Romans, Petra slowly fell from grace and was eventually abandoned.
The Nabataeans had no way of knowing that Petra’s greatest glory lay far in the future, when it would become a major tourist destination and earn a designation as one of the world’s “new” seven wonders.
To enter Petra, you walk through a magnificent gorge, called the Siq, for about three-quarters of a mile.
As you approach the end of the Siq, you get your first glimpse of Petra’s most famous structure, the Treasury.
Finally you emerge from the gorge into the open air, and…tada!
The Treasury is revealed to you in its full sandstone splendor. (Though the camels may seem unimpressed.)
The detail in the carvings is incredible.
The camels aren’t the only ones who don’t get too excited by Petra’s wonders.
Even some of the humans look a little bored by it all.
But those dudes aren’t hanging around Petra for the fun of it. They’re trying to sell tourists camel rides, donkey rides, horse carriage rides, you name it. As a result, there are a lot of working animals at Petra. And a lot of animal dung. Along with the rocks and slippery steps everywhere, everyone is constantly trying to avoid all the feces under foot. It’s not easy. At one point I muttered to my companions that the place ought to be called Poop-tra. But no matter where we went, the animals didn’t seem to, uh, give a crap.
Cleaning up all that excrement is probably not the most exciting job in the world either.
This gentleman also appears pretty blasé. But I think that might have been on purpose. I think he was the security dude who keeps people from getting too close to the Treasury.
The Treasury is the first, and most famous, sight you encounter at Petra, but it’s hardly the only one. For example, the Tombs are pretty cool too.
And if you’re willing to climb a few hundred feet up a pathway, you also get to see the Monastery.
Another pathway takes you to a couple of views most tourists miss.
Do try the Jordanian typical food while you’re here. Apparently it’s both delicious and enjoyable.
We also visited Petra at night. They put on a nice little light and sound show. It was pretty cool.
Except for the idiot who wouldn’t sit down even after 200 people started shouting at him.
There’s one in every crowd, isn’t there? Why do some people have to be so stupid that way? Heck, even the animals know when it’s time to sit down.
Some things haven’t changed much in 2,000 years.