The Lost City of Petra

March 29, 2017 Paul Groves

Day 83 of 111. Petra, Jordan

All I really knew of Petra before today was that it appeared in scenes of Indiana Jones movies. From the visitor’s center, we had to walk down a canyon for about 45 minutes. This canyon is called the Siq. You can choose to use a horse-drawn carriage instead of walking, but our guide, Abdullah, had interesting things to tell us about the Nabateans who established Petra as an important oasis along the trade routes. The Nabateans were very clever about managing and storing water… a vital skill in the desert. They were also skilled at carving buildings out of solid rock. The iconic building, the Treasury, is what you see when you first come out of the Siq. These buildings were actually tombs. The name Treasury came about because later explorers got it into their head that the urn at the top of the building was hiding an ancient treasure (it is not). There are bullet holes that showed how people tried to shoot the urn.

This is a major tourist attraction and so there are opportunities to ride camels, tons of trinkets (or Bedouin scarves) to purchase, and you can even have lunch around the corner from the treasury. There are many other tombs to see and there is an amphitheater built into the rock wall. If you want to climb 800 more steps, there is a monastery (no, thank you).

Abdullah showed us a coin that was found in Petra. It shows an ancient king and queen and is very old. At lunch, we had Coke Light… which look really cool in Arabic. We also visited the Indiana Jones Supermarket on the way back to the bus. This was another amazing visit. I’m glad I am writing down a few of my thoughts because I really want to remember/relive these travels.