The city in the rocks.
Petra Travel Blog› entry 2 of 5 › view all entries
After sitting in the cab (with air conditioning !) for about 3 hours, Mario pulled over where we were able to look out over the valley Wadi Mousa and the town which he said has grown quite a bit to accommodate the increasing number of visitors. On the far side of the valley is Jabel Haroun (Mount Aaron) also called Mount Hor where it is said that Moses buried his brother Aaron (Numbers 33:38 NKJ). Growing up with Bible stories, I was in awe of the whole area.
All I heard from Jay (who had been there before) was "you haven't seen anything yet". Because it's hidden in the basin of the valley, Petra can't be seen until you are literally on top of it.
After walking a ways, it seems the walls of the Siq come out of nowhere and you find yourself travelling through a narrow passage (some places 5 m wide) with walls extending so high it blocks the sunlight out (300-600ft). And the colors....most magnificant tones of reds and pinks. After almost a mile, we caught the first glimpse of Al Khazneh or the Treasury. Being an Indian Jones fan, I thought it pretty cool to be standing on the steps.
After passing several facades that were carved into the sandstone, we came to the amphitheater where Jay wanted to test the theory that there is one spot on stage where a whisper can be heard no matter where one sits. Sure enough, he found it. I sat in several places and was still able to hear him.
Walking further, we came out into the valley and onto the Colonnaded Street which was the main street in the first century A.D. Most of the city was ruined by earthquakes in 363 & 551 and pretty much 'lost' until it was 'rediscovered' in 1812 by a Swiss explorer and orientalist Johann Burckhardt. Excavation of the city center was started around 1958 and we were able to see the ongoing excavation of The Great Temple (sponsored by Brown University) and the Temple of Al Uzza (The American Expedition to Petra - Utah University). Reminded me of Pompeii - but that's awhole-nother travel blog.
Since it was getting late and we had a long drive back, we decided to end our hike there and head back to the entrance. We never made it to Al Deir or otherwise known as the Monastery which would have taken an hour. It just gives me another reason to visit in the future.