I left Amman with an Aussie named Wendy at 3am in order to reach Petra at dawn. Upon arrival I dropped my gear at Peace Way Hotel, headed straight for the ticket office, and bought a 3-day pass. Since the park was delightfully bereft of people, I hopped on a horse and played Indiana Jones for the first leg of the journey. Then you walk through a narrow canyon called the Siq in order to reach the Al-Khazneh temple. We beat the busloads of tourists to the famed Treasury that was featured in the final scene of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”
PETRA DAY ONE
PETRA VISITOR CENTER – DEAD AT 6:45AM
I immediately purchased a three day pass, and entered this renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site for the first time.
The first view of things to come as the sun rises.
Road to the Siq
The Obelisk Temple & Bab el-Siq Triclinium
The Obelisk Tomb and Bab As-Siq Triclinium are directly across from the Djinn Blocks. The Obelisk Tomb (top monument) was clearly built under an Egyptian influence. An inscription near the tomb writes that the tomb belongs to Abdmank and his children. The Bab As-Siq Triclinium (bottom monument) is a chamber with three benches and served as a location for sacred feasts honoring the dead.
AMBER – MY RIDE TO THE SIQ
This is the same canyon that Indy & his father rode through at the end of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.”
One of numerous carvings in the sandstone throughout Petra.
Channels were dug into the walls on both sides to bring water to the ancient city of Petra.
FIRST GLIMPSE OF THE TREASURY
There’s nothing like seeing the Treasury first thing in the morning without the hordes of tourists.
Al-Khazneh Temple – The Treasury
Home to some 30,000 people, Petra was the center of a kingdom four times the size of modern Jordan. The Treasury is actually a misnomer since it was actually a tomb, but legend had it that there was a cache of gold coins to be found here. There are some bullet holes in the façade revealing an attempt at locating the treasure.
SUBLIME DONKEY SHOT
MY LITTLE DONKEY
THE ROYAL TOMBS – These will be explored on the day after tomorrow.
A donkey is very tempting at this point since we’ve still got two miles to go.
The Theater Complex passes slowly by once again.
I secure the obligatory selfie to prove my visitation.
The sun is just reaching the top of the monument.
No matter, I’ve two more days to secure a full sun shot.
Back into the Siq.
You completely expect Indy to come galloping around the corner at any moment, and you can’t get the theme music out of your head.
REMNANTS OF STATUES CARVED INTO THE SANDSTONE
HERE COME THE CROWDS
ORIGINAL PAVED ROAD
Back to Town
DJINN BLOCKS – 50 BC – 50 AD
Throughout Petra you will see many cube-shaped monuments which are known as djinn blocks. ‘Djinn’ is the name for a type of spirit that is featured in Arab folklore; the name was adopted for these blocks as Petra’s Bedouin occupants believed these monuments were the dwellings of the djinn, which were thought to inhabit the area. Today it is generally agreed that these monuments served as tombs and monuments to the dead.
MORE DJINN BLOCKS
INDIANA JONES SUPERMARKET
PETRA MARRIOT – VISITING FOR THE SUNSET AND DRINKS BY THE POOL
DOWNTOWN PETRA AFTER DARK
PETRA GATE HOTEL – ROOFTOP RESTAURANT – RENDEZVOUS WITH NICK
INTERNATIONAL POSSE – AMERICAN, BELGIAN, AND DUTCH REPRESENTATIVES
PETRA DAY TWO
Pushme-Pullyou Camel Version – For those of you who read the Doctor Dolittle
OUR DUTCH BUDDY
EN ROUTE TO THE MONASTERY
PETRA GREAT TEMPLE – Entry Stairway
PETRA GREAT TEMPLE – The Petra Great Temple built over two millennia ago, is among the most spectacular architectural wonders of Petra. It is the largest freestanding building yet excavated in the city.
QASR al-BINT TEMPLE COMPLEX – 25 BC – 25 AD
The “Palace of the Pharaoh’s Daughter” is Petra’s oldest and most venerable temple complex. Its name derives from the local legend that the same pharaoh who hid his treasure in the urn of the Treasury, promised his daughter’s hand in marriage to the engineer who could develop a system to bring water to the palace. Several water channels have been found near it.
The monument is almost square and set on a podium. It was the main temple of Petra, and still stands at a height of 23 meters. Qasr-al-Bint is a typical Hellenistic temple where only priests could enter inside and worshippers remained outside in the open temence, or holy area, where they may have offered animal sacrifices. It is approached by a flight of 26 marble steps, and four stucco-covered Corinthian columns between pilasters decorated the northern facade. Inside the temple at the rear of the sanctuary, there are three compartments: the middle one protects an altar platform that housed images of the deity, and two other were supplied with balcony terraces. It is believed that this temple was dedicated to Dushara, the main Nabataean god.
The temple is dated to the first half of the 1st. century AD, and it is possible that it was a pilgrim destination.
850 agonizing steps to be taken before reaching the Monastery.
Having previously expressed a desire to just relax and enjoy the scenery, Nick changes his mind, and charges ahead leaving me bewildered and out of breath.
An abandoned ride…..tempting.
Continuing my slog up the step, I stop every now and then to take a few breathless photos.
Okay that’s it. I flagged down a donkey half way up, and rode the rest of the way in herky-jerky discomfort.
AD DEIR – THE MONASTERY
A nice cave bar in the shade for chilling out with a fresh squeezed orange juice.
And a nice view to go along with it.
Bedouin selling authentic products from China and India.
He’s got the right idea. We’ve got five miles to get back to the entrance.
At least the scenery is nice.
Thankfully we don’t need to climb those.
And back down to flat terrain.
THE ROYAL TOMBS – Tomorrow’s project along with the climb to the vantage point above the Treasury.
THE TREASURY – Once again for good measure in a nice warm light.
PETRA DAY THREE
The Siq – Back into the Breach
THE ROYAL TOMBS – Time to get up close and personal.
Bedouins selling their wares in front of the tombs.
VIEW FROM A TOMB
Heading out of Petra one last time past the Theater.
Past the hillside dwellings.
And finally to tackle the arduous climb to the upper vantage point for viewing the Treasury.
My Guide – Without whom, I probably would not have made it.
JOHNNY DEPP EAT YOUR HEART OUT. THIS IS THE REAL McCOY.
You $10,000 a bottle, wine drinking, pirate wannabe, smug, little prick.
I know I’m beating this to death, but I worked hard climbing up here to get these shots so I’m gonna use them. There’s only about an hour and a half of full sun on the monument. Actually you can get some good stuff when there’s no direct sun.
Okay, I best throw in the obligatory selfie just in case I fall going down. That way my family can see me smiling just before my death.
The climb down is a real pain. Literally. I slid on my ass three times. Thankfully damage free.
SO LONG PETRA, SEE YOU IN WADI RUM