The Rose City of Petra
After our night in Petra getting a preview of the Treasury we were keen to get back there the following morning. Walking down the dusty trail toward the huge canyon and treasury we found small tombs and carvings we had missed the night before. Locals with horses rode alongside us trying to get our business and we watched as the tourists in small horse drawn wagons got rattled down the rocky path.
With the morning sun already biting hard we were relieved to enter the cool canyon with its high walls. Toward the treasury remains of a Roman arch and some camels were found as well as trees growing straight out of the canyon walls.
Reaching the treasury, we found it just as spectacular as at night but with a far more bustling atmosphere. Camels and donkeys in brightly coloured saddles were dotted among the other tourists and local vendors selling all kinds of trinkets. It did give us an idea of what this place my have been like back when the area was used as a trade route.
As we soon discovered, the treasury was only the beginning of what Petra has to offer and we continued on to find many burial tombs of the Nabatean people who inhabited this region. Many of the carvings throughout the area are actually burial tombs although they look like houses. The Nabatean had strong beliefs about the afterlife and some of the caves would house the tombs of entire families.
With a quick lunch in the valley we prepared ourselves for the steep hike to ‘The Monastery’ which is believed to be a Nabatean temple carved in the 1st century b.c. Looking like the Treasury with a little less detail, the structure is many times larger than the Treasury and just as impressive especially given its location high above the canyon.
Walking around the Monastery we found not only ‘The Best View’ but also the “better than best view’, both lookouts over the entire region. With incredible views the entire way back down to the Treasury and back to the hotel we hardly noticed the full day of hiking. Petra is indeed and unforgettable place and a highlight of Jordan so far.