Jordan

Petra.66

It felt wrong to end with photos of the modern town at sunset, so I saved a few of my favorite shots from the Great Temple exploration to close this series with. Here we’re looking through the Temenos Gate, along the Colonnaded Street to the Royal Tombs beyond. The other three below were taken from inside the Temple, giving you panoramas or yet another look at the Royal Tombs looming in the distance.

Do check the map to get a sense again of all the wanderings I’ve shown you – and come back to these posts any time you need a reminder of sunnier and drier days :-).


Petra.65


Petra.64

These “Djinn Block” are the first obvious items of ancient archeological origin which you encounter after walking past the entrance gate and beginning the slow descent towards the path through the Siq and on to the vast array of sites in the heart of Petra. Like everything else on the main path and the Siq, I passed them four times (in and out the first and second days), and only took the time to photograph them as I neared the entrance at the end of the magnificent day that I’ve been documenting for you. 🙂

Petra.63

This tomb sits relatively close to the entrance, before you enter the narrow path through the Siq itself. I took a photo of it the evening before, when I walked in for the very first time and it was bathed in full sunshine: if you’d like to compare, you can find that photo in Petra.3, where I also posted the map and explained a bit about how I planned to go about this series. Hope you feel I’ve fulfilled my promises :-).


Petra.62

We’ve walked back past the Royal Tombs, the Theater, The Wall of Facades…we’ve turned into the Siq where – this evening, after rushing through it with barely a pause for a photo 12 hours ago on my way to the heights to look down at the Treeasury – this solo tomb stands alone in an odd corner.

Petra.61


Image

Petra.60


Petra.59

 


Petra.58

…but first (referring to the last post),I’ll show you the view looking back to where we’ve been, above and below. We’ve begun the lovely last sunset walk up from the basin to the entrance, with indeed photos of the Great Temple (from which the image below was shot). Linger with me. 🙂

Petra.57

I’ve lingered lovingly on the views seen from the trail coming back down from the monastery — because they remind me of dry, sunny desert air on a beuatiful day. Because I think they’re beautiful in their own right. Because it was truly one of the most beautiful days of my rich existence thus far. Because I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be showing you next, although one thing I definitely plan is a break to let my creative tank refill.
So today you see: above, the area I call the Basin b/c it’s got a restaurant of that name (the low roof on the left), and it’s pretty much the lowest point inside the Petra compound. And below, first the view from the basin back up towards the Great Temple (more of that very soon) with the Royal Tomb cliffs in the distance; and the third photo shows you the view looking back to the start of the Monastery trail and the hills from which came all the solo photos this past week, as seen from within the Great Temple ruihs.

Image

Petra.56


Petra.55


Petra.54

Enlarge on a full screen and you’ll notice again the cliff face of the Royal Tombs in the top left quadrant of this photo. We’re walking back down toward the basin and an exploration of the Great Temple, buying various items along the way in the face of the excellent persuasive sale pitches of these vendors 🙂

Image

Petra.53


Image

Petra.52


Gallery

Petra.51


Errant Masks.30

Yes, even in this beautiful place at a time of relatively low transmission both in Jordan and in the Netherlands, one couldn’t quite escape the reminders. I believe I’ll retire this series now. Enough already. Get vaccinated and boosted and practice evidence-based public preventive behavior, please.

Petra.50

Two structures in the vast experience of Petra had the most distinct impact on me as buildings and the way you see them for the first time: this is the second, and the “Treasury” was the first. In both cases, one first views the structure after an extended walk or donkey ride. For context, remember that we’re now around 3:30 or so, and my day began with a walk through the Siq before dawn, to get high above the Treasury before the sun fully illuminated it. We’ve now reached the pinnacle of the day, literally the highest point we’ll see. I introduced you to the building in its own right yesterday, so here let’s give you a geographic context.

In the first photo above, you see the town of Wadi Musa in the distance. Yes, I’ve walked all that way past everything I’ve been showing you since Petra.23, all in one spectacular day’s exploration 😊. In the panoramic shot immediately above, you begin to see how the mountains drop off to the left, which is to say to the west and north of this site. I’ll soon show you more of that view, because I did walk over to the last place you can (safely) walk, where the cliffs drop off to the desert and the border between the modern nation-states of Jordan and Israel, with to the north views of the region commonly called the Palestinian Territories, or the West Bank.

As you’ve seen, these hills are quite rugged, so the shot just below was taken from my perch atop another cliff which gave me this vantage. If I’d had the energy, I could have joined the brave few who followed a very narrow path and climbed up onto the roof of this building itself. I thought I’d managed to photograph some folks climbing up or down, or standing on top of that rounded cupola looking down at us, but I can’t find them in the vastness that is the building and its surroundings. A guide offered to take me up, but I knew I had the long walk back to Wadi Musa ahead of me, so I declined.

Tomorrow we’ll show you more of the views across the border, and then we’ll start our descent from this high perch down to the basin, Qasr al Bint, the Great Temple, and then back along the trail past the Royal Tombs, the Treasury, through the Siq and out to the modern town one last time. For better or worse, my friends, we’re nearing the end of this extended Petra series, but we’ll have enough posts to last through about Christmas, at which point I rather expect I’ll give us all a break from the daily doubles and most likely from posts, full-stop.


Petra.49 “The Monastery”

From the official map: “Ad Deir, or the Monastery, is one of the largest monuments in Petra measuring 47m wide by 48.3m high… [It] dates to the early 2nd century AD, during the reign of King Rabel II. The hall was later re-used as a Christian chapel and crosses were carved into the rear wall, this is how the structure got its name.”

Petra.48

You should imagine Paul, belly full from a pretty decent lunch buffet with plenty of water and tea, now walking up a long path with a welcome amount of shade because I timed this for the afternoon when the cliffs on our left would provide some respite. The path leads to a building that is quite amazing, which is high enough up that it’s less than ten minutes further on to where you can look down over a precipitous drop from the edge of these mountains, over to the Negev Desert in Israel, and north to the Palestinian Territories. The vendors really wanted business. I may have bought more than I normally would, because it was just so clear that tourism was way lower than usual and everyone needs to earn a living. I don’t regret a single thing I bought :-). Below: the obligatory orientation shot to show you where the cliff face of the Royal Tombs sits as seen from this path. You’ll notice that we’re now higher up and farther away.


Petra.47


Here you see the Qasr al Bint (free-standing, square building to the lower left), which you’ve seen before, and also what remains of the Tempe of Winged Lions, to its right and slightly uphill. You can’t get into or walk around that temple, so I didn’t see the winged lions of which you can read below. Next posts, we begin the climb to the building called “The Monastery,” which as you’ll see from the map, is quite a piece uphill to the right, as seen in this photo.


Petra.46 – The Church

As you see two shots above, we’re now just downhill from the Blue Church, under that roof. Which I assume is there to protect these mosaics, which are pretty cool when you think how long they’ve held up in this climate :-).


Petra.45 – The Blue Church

We’ll be showing you some Byzantine ruins today and tomorrow, still following more or less the sequence in which I saw and photographed things after I left the overlook above “The Treasury.” You can see why they call this the blue church :-). In two of the shots below you’ll see a modern tent-like rooftop, which covers what seems to be the main church – check the map and you’ll see these are just next to each other. Mosaics from beneath that roof coming tomorrow :-). In another shot, you’ll see the cliff face with the “Royal Tombs,” as in one of the photos I showed yesterday. I also mis-stated a bit yesterday: in the first photo below, you’ll see another ruin between these columns and the mountain — that’s also the Winged Lion Temple.


Petra.44

The photo above is looking back towards the cliff face into which the structures called the “Royal Tombs” are built. It was taken from something called “Temple of the Winged Lion,” which I didn’t really find all that photogenic despite its promising name, so you’ll only see it in one photo later. Below, we’re looing from the same vantage towards the Great Temple. Of that, I will show you more photos later, because it was the last major structure that I really explored on my out, after having climbed up to & back down from the structure called “The Monastery.” More on all that in post yet to come. 🙂