The Rose Red City, Petra

September 22, 2018

One of the (many) wonderful things about a cruise is gliding into port early in the morning and opening the curtains to... Who knows what? A breathtaking landscape... or a sea of containers off container ships? This is the port of Aqaba, Jordan’s only coastal city.​ It was already hot.

​The main reason to visit Jordan is Petra, The Rose Red City, a one-time trading colossus  midway between, as one guide put it, Mesopotamia and Egypt. But to get there from the port takes three hours by bus through the desert and scattered small towns. Naturally, as everywhere around the world, people ‘live above the shop.’​

​From the touristic commercial center with its gewgaw shops, hotels and restaurants to the 3,000+-year-old carved-out-of-sandstone city is a walk of around 3/4 mile. Some opted for burro, horse or carriage transport down or back, or both. ​Note the tombs, right above the carriage, topped by five pyramids, one for each of the interred.

​The siq (gorge) leading into the ancient city was created when the mountain ‘cleaved in two.’ Some of the surface is still paved with cobbles installed by the Romans when they were in charge, in the long succession of countries that controlled the region.


There was entertainment along a way...​

Not the usual Petra postcard shot, this is a better indication of what we would all look like if we had been standing still in the desert heat and wind for 3200 years. But imagine how gorgeous we were when we were young! 


The trade goods that came through Petra came by camel. Here’s what’s left of one of the caravans. Start at the relatively well defined hooves and work up to see the camel and the camel driver.

The postcard shot. Al Khazna, the Treasury, was built, as near as historians can figure, around the 1st century AD.​ Wiki says: ‘Petra is believed to have been settled as early as 9,000 BC, and it was possibly established in the 4th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataean Kingdom.’ Besides being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World.

Ending with my favorite. I didn’t want to stop walking, turn, face her and raise my camera, for two reasons: to be less rude than usual, and to not distract her from her phone! My phone was already in my right hand, so I turned it and shot this, literally, from the hip. #



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