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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September 14th | Day 6 in Jordan

I spent the whole day in Petra! It was an incredible experience and really words cannot accurately describe the beauty of God's creation and the architecture of this ancient civilization.

The Nabateans were nomadic Arabs who settled in the area sometime in the sixth century B.C. and thrived until about 100 A.D. The Romans tried many times to take over this important civilization, but were unsuccessful until about 100 A.D. when they finally caused the Nabateans to surrender without bloodshed.
Moses and the Israelites were said to have passed through the Petra Area in ancient Edom which was a kingdom mentioned in the Bible.

Horse carriage in the canyon at Petra

Walking in the canyon at Petra

Narrowest point in the Canyon

Walking in the Canyon

The Nabateans were sophisticated engineers for their time as it relates to architecture and water systems. They carved magnificent building facades out of rose-red sand stone and created an advanced water system that ran the length of the city in some type of pipes that were pressurized. Water would literally travel up an incline because the seal on the piping system was so good. Many of the carved structures on the sides of the buildings were memorials, burial tombs or temples because they believed in the importance of the dead and sacrificing for religious purposes.

The Treasury at Petra

Cory riding a camel at the Treasury and the camel is drinking a bottle of water!

Cory standing at the Treasury

Tomb at Petra

Amphitheater at Petra

The King's Tomb at Petra

As we journeyed further into Petra, we entered the famous narrow canyon. It was so breathtaking. At the end of the narrow canyon, we caught a glimpse of the massive Treasury which is the most famous building in Petra. It was so ornate and the scale of it was unbelievable.
After standing in awe of this structure for some time, we ventured further into this city. We came across a huge canyon area with so many cool structures, including an amphitheater, and the King’s tomb. We finally made it to the main street of Petra and at one point in time, both sides of the street where lined with huge columns, but most of them had been destroyed.

Cory pushing the columns down at the amphitheater 

One of the buildings was called The Great Petra Temple and it was over 70,000 square feet in size. It was an unreal sight to see.

The Great Petra Temple

At this point on the tour, we stopped and ate lunch at a very good restaurant called The Basin Restaurant inside Petra. It overlooked the most beautiful mountain landscape too!
Next, some of my tour companions and I hiked up 800 or 900 steps to what the locals call The Monastery. It is larger than the Treasury, but is not quite as ornate. However, it was an amazing site to see and it was at a very high elevation and from various places around the monastery you could see way off into the distance!

Walking up 800 to 900 stairs to the Monastery  

Continuing our climb

The Monastery

The Monastery from a mountain peak 

The overall hike for the day is not for the fainthearted. We hiked about 8 miles up and down mountains and over hills and through the woods. Ok, there were no woods in Petra, but you get my point. It was a vigorous day physically. However, many who were in their 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s walked along paths that suited their physical limitations. There is something for everyone. People can even ride donkeys, horses, or camels to make the experience less grueling for those that don’t have the endurance or stamina.

Overlooking Petra Valley from a mountain top

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