Petra: finding out what all the fuss is about.
Petra Travel Blog› entry 119 of 251 › view all entries
June 25th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
The ancient city of Petra was literally carved from stone in the 1st to 3rd centuries by the Nabataeans (I had never heard of them before, either). It is now an expansive (and impressive, and amazing, and astounding, etc) archeology site. We spent about five hours exploring it on foot today. I feel like we got a pretty good taste of it, although the common recommendation is that you spend two to three days there. Itâ€™s a pretty big place.
We got there just before 7am, and already the tour groups were gathering.
As we got to the end of this long passage, we caught a glimpse of the first â€śstructureâ€ť -- the Treasury. It is an enormous (43m or 140 feet) faĂ§ade, perfectly carved from the side of the dusty pink cliff. The camels and horses (available for hire) only added to its picturesque quality. Pretty stunning.
From there we covered a lot of ground. We visited an eroded Roman-style theatre carved from the cliffs, the Street of facades, and a series of ancient tombs.
The grand finale for us was the long walk up to the intricately carved Monastery. It was starting to get pretty hot at this point, and the 900 steps that carried us there really felt likeâ€¦well, 900 steps. It was hard work! Many people opted to take stair-climbing donkeys, but we decided to go under our own power. Finally getting to the top was exhilarating, and it was beautifulâ€¦well worth the hike.
Then it was time to hike back out. It had really heated up, and the numbers of visitors coming in had increased dramatically. The Sig had been tranquil and shady in the morning, but was nearly spoiled by chattering groups on the way out, plus the sun was relentless. Again, I was SO happy we were just finishing up at 1pm, instead of being the ones just coming in!
We were so tired when we finished our tour, a nice nap certainly seemed to be in order. But, NOâ€¦ unfortunately we had already checked out of our room and placed our bags into storage. On our agenda for the afternoon was a drive further south, to Aqaba and the Red Sea.
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