Wanderlust Home and Pet Care
February 22: We make our way (one hour later) to the bottom of the 850 steps to the Monastery. The steps are uneven and at times covered with sand to make them slippery. The architecture of the Monastery is more simple but the size of the structure is overwhelming. The tomb/temple (historians are unsure on this point) became an important pilgrimage site with the way up the processional route and the open area in front of the monument as a gathering place. The walk down is still difficult as my feet are sore and muscles are tired. We pay for donkeys to take us part of the way back to town.
Transportation and food are expensive. Only the souvenirs are reasonably priced.
Once back at the hotel, Gary is out hunting for beer (only sold in expensive hotels). The beer is refreshing after a long walk. We have had a successful two days at Petra. Ladies, if I haven’t already said this, please bring toilet paper or Kleenex - you will need it everywhere in Jordan.
February 21: Petra and the 5 W’s
Who: The Nabataeans originally came from the Arabian Peninsula. They were influenced by the rival Greek factions and later the Romans. They were the builder of Petra. The Nabataeans built a powerful kingdom that stretched from Damascus and included part of the Sinai and the Negev deserts. They were open to outside cultural influences and added those technologies to their own culture.
What: Petra, the city, was crisscrossed by paved roads, water harvesting systems, temples, and two theaters (the largest could hold 7,000 people). The dead were buried in tombs carved from the surrounding rock. The rock became the natural city walls and the necropolis. The Nabataeans levied tolls and protecting caravans on the trade routes while building a city to be visited by the world 2,000 years later.
When: Petra had been inhabited into the neolithic age but started it’s rise to fame in the 6th Century BC. The height of it glory was during the Roman annexation into the Roman Empire 106 AD.
Where: Petra was along the caravan routes to and from Arabia, Africa, China and India. Petra is special as it’s location is at the end of a valley gorge. The gorge then opens up into a valley which supplies the area necessary for residential and commercial buildings.
Why: The architectural remains of Petra continue to amaze the visitor, including me. To carve a tomb/theater from the face of the gorge is mind numbing. They climbed to the top of the rock face and began to sculpt a piece of art from the top down. These tombs are not simple in design but complex masterpieces. Their use of water management was technological advanced as well. Any rain storm falling on rock will generate an enormous amount of water. They built a 300 meter tunnel to channel water away from the city. They channeled water along the gorge for their personal consumption or to be used in the Roman Bath or the fountains of the Nymphaeum. Plaster still remains displaying bright colors which is close to being 2,000 years old. What a legacy the Nabataeans have left for future generations.
Our first day is spent with a tour guide and then investigating the city’s remains. Any caravan coming into the city surely would have been as impressed as I am.