Jordan

Petra.25


Petra.24


Petra.23

We begin my second day, my truly full day, in Petra with this iconic image of the Treasury as you see it when you reach the end of the Siq. This image was taken before 7am, and I was hurrying through to begin the climb up the cliffs to the right in this photo, on a trail tucked behind the wall of the Royal Tombs cliff. I will leave the full date-time info intact and add identifications to the names of these photos, and I’m going to post them in order taken while I walked it, at least for the set that covers this morning that morning. I climbed up, waited with only myself for company as I watched the sun slowly rise high enough to illuminate first the very top of the Treasury, then slowly descend to illuminate the whole façade. It was one of the most precious and memorable mornings I’ve thus far lived, and I hope the photos presented this way will help you experience it a bit vicariously as I saw it myself, walking along :-). 

Petra.22

Many of you fabulous readers have been posting comments or writing me privately to say you’re still loving this steady trickle of Petra photos. It’s amazing, indeed…and another amazing thing is that so far I’ve only shown you about half of the terrain. 🙂 The photo above is looking down from the Wadi al Farasa trail, toward what that map I posted earlier calls the Colonnaded Street. The tent you see? It’s covering the Byzantine Church, which has quite lovely mosaics (as one would expect of a Byzantine Church, correct?) that I guess need more protection from the elements than all these toughest, oldest Nabataean ruins do. Below, you can see two photos of what the brochure tells us is the only amphitheater in the world which is carved *out* of the rocky hillside, rather than built into it. In other words: to create the rows, they didn’t add blocks of stone in rows; they carved rows of benches out of the surrounding rocky hillside. And they did all of this more than 2,000 years ago. And of course an afternoon shot of the Treasury, that single most famous place in Petra. So much more ahead…so I hope you’ll continue to find it worth coming back for, from day #2 where we’ll see the Byzantine Church, the building called The Monastery (way upper left, on that map I included in Petra.3), and oh so very much more. Stay tuned and keep coming back :-).

Petra.21


Petra.20


Petra.19


Gallery

Petra.18


Image

Petra.17


Petra.16


Petra.15


Petra.14

Above: I spent five hours Friday exploring the many things that I’ve already shown you. There are still more images to go from that remarkable afternoon, but this is an exhausted me seeing a beautiful image as I walked away from what you can see below, on my way back to dinner at the hotel. (Remember I’d awoken super early in Suli that morning, flown to Amman and had the long drive down to Wadi Musa, then walked up and down for five hours!) Below is the start of my Saturday morning, looking in to the building called “The Treasury,” quite early so there weren’t very many people around yet. I was on my way to a hilltop perch from which I then waited and enjoyed peace and still as the sun slowly but steadily rose high enough shine directly on this building. 
This is the most famous and photographed single building in Petra. Discovering it for the first time, with this image as you end your mysterious and atmospheric walk through the canyon of the Siq, is quite inspiring. There are more images of this building to come in future posts. But I figured you were owed at least one early – if partial – glimpse of Petra’s most famous building. 🙂 And for fairness, below that is the image I took just before the image above: one last glimpse of the Treasury before beginning the walk back up the Siq towards town, a meal, a bed.

Image

Petra.13


Image

Petra.12


Petra.11

Today it’s all photos taken on the way up to High Place of Sacrifice, coming from the small side trail just before the Amphitheater, and photos taken from way up high at the High Place of Sacrifice and the other overlooks nearby or partway down along Wadi al Farasa path (where we took the photos of the painted triclinium, which you’ve seen in earlier posts). The photos all have names that try to say what they are, in case you’re following along. We’re still on my first afternoon there, and I apologize if these are all too many photos. But…I mean…really.

Image

Petra.10


Petra.9

This shot was taken from Painted Triclinium, looking at Roman Soldier’s tomb: both on the Wadi al Farasa side trail, below the Garden Tomb of which I posted many photos in Petra.4. Your first view of Painted Triclinium came with Petra.7 — and I believe the colors are all natural rock, not actual paint. But I didn’t scratch to see :-). There will be more of Painted Triclinium ahead – it’s off the main path, so less noticed, but truly remarkable. As I sort and set up this post, it’s a week since I flew out of Jordan back to A’dam, and two weeks already since my full day inside Petra. I’m so grateful for the many kind comments and emails you’ve sent! I’m doing precisely what I recommended to you, my readers: looking at the map, checking the time stamp on the photos themselves, and reminding myself what I did when. I have to finish sorting and naming all of these before I forget! And there are so many! It’s an endlessly amazing place! And I barely showed you one photo of Amman, a week ago…and have not yet even given you a glimpse of Jerash!


Ok, ok, fine: there’s a lot more in store, if you stay tuned. For today, we’ll focus on the Painted Triclinium, and all that can be seen both within, without it, and from within it looking out. Enjoy 🙂


Image

Petra.8


Image

Petra.7


Image

Petra.6


Petra.5


Petra.4


Petra.3 // An Introduction

I spent fully 15 hours inside the Petra archaeological site last weekend – on Friday from 14:00 to 19:00, and on Saturday from 06:30 to 18:30 or a bit later. Most of it walking and climbing, up and down then back up or down again 😊. It’s a workout!

I posted some “teaser” photos last weekend already, since it was my first chance to let y’all know I’d landed in Jordan and had some free time to explore.

Petra.1 showed you two selfies, one from within the Siq and another from up above at High Place of Worship, looking down toward the Royal Tombs façade far below; and one panorama taken from High Place of Worship, panning from left (by Qasr Al Bint) to right (beyond royal tombs, toward The Treasury and the entrance from The Siq).

Petra.2 showed you a camel down by the Qasr Al Bint area. (Bear with me through this post, and if you’re curious enough you’ll get more info on these place – names.)

Today I’ll begin unfolding some of the vast majesty and mystery of this amazing place, piece by small piece.

Petra is enormous.

Further down, I’m posting a photo I took this morning of the official map you get upon entry. The main red path indicated on the map, which is basically at ground level from Entry Gate to Qasr Al Bint, is said to be 4km long.

It follows a steep and narrow canyon carved by Wadi Musa – which is called at first the Siq, a lovely mysterious passage which opens up directly onto the Treasury building, the single most famous site and image within Petra…but itself just a very small sample of this place. (Wadi Musa is both the name of the modern gateway town to Petra, and of the seasonal river that I assume carved these canyons before humans arrived or existed.)

Many site names are misleading. Most of these buildings were tombs. The Treasury was so named because folks hoped / imagined that it held a fortune – not so 😊. The Monastery is so named because later Byzantine occupants carved crosses into the surface – but like most things in Petra, it was built as a tomb for important deceased Nabataeans.

With today’s post, and all the many to follow in time — feel free to just enjoy the photos and move on. BUT if you’re truly curious and would like to know what you’re seeing, I highly recommend that you do the following:

  • View these on a larger screen, full function, where you can easily pan over the images to see their names. This is difficult on smart phones, so if you’re older than 30 and on a smart phone, accept that you’ll be simply absorbing images for their beauty.
  • I’ve spent the past three hours sorting out & naming the first 70 out of 270 total photos, and that’s all just from Petra.
  • You’ll also be seeing more of Amman and Jerash – and I still have to sort and name those before I forget where I was when I took each shot  … so I have my evening & weekend work cut out for me for some weeks to come. 😊 So if you’re on a small screen and curious – trust that the best info I have will be in the photo’s title and on that map.
  • If you’re really truly curious, find an online map, or open & save the map image further down in a separate window, and follow along in the days and months ahead as I slowly show you the vast, endless and striking natural and human achievement that is Petra.
  • Example, to help with orientation: at the bottom of this post is pano photo showing the wall of Royal Tombs. In the map photo above it, that entire wall face is just about the middle of the map #8 Royal Tombs, with 8.1 etc. for individual tomb names. And the selfie of me earlier in this post, up above the Treasury? It was taken at the end of the green trail you see on the map, above F in “Street of Facades,” from the perspective of the map. 🙂

Other things to note & appreciate, today and later:

  • Nearly all these remarkable images were carved out of the canyon walls – not built as free-standing buildings.
  • At times it’s difficult to know if something is natural erosion or human intervention. The rock itself is at times stunningly colorful and impressively shaped by wind, water, and time.
  • Enjoy!


Image

Jerash.1