Petra: Happiness in a 2300 Year Old City
In the Jordan Desert, there is a 2300 year old city that westerns didn’t know existed until the late 1880’s. Petra was a trade center 2000 before the United States was a country. The city is in the desert, entered via a slot canyon called Al Siq. Most people know the building above because it was featured in an Indiana Jones movie. I’ve wanted to see Petra for a long time, it was named one of the new seven wonders of the world in 2015 and for good reason.
The Siq itself had small dams and plumbing to provide water to the city. The walls of the Siq were giant carved murals that you can still see small remnants of in the rock. Paint flecks found in the city hint that the Siq and the city were incredibly colorful. Where the sand has been blown or washed back you can see the cobbles that paved the way into the city.
We entered the city on a quiet morning just after sunrise. My first time walking through the Siq was magical. Towering walls with light just entering from the edges, it was completely silent, not even birds tweeting. The rock walls were absolutely beautiful and peaceful, eventually coming through the Siq you get your first peeks at the most famous building in Petra, the Treasury Building.
I was truly in awe of the edifice, it’s absolutely spectacular with incredible color. Being there early, before the other tourists made it a special time. I had to reach out and touch a 2000 year-old building.
We would leave the Treasury valley by donkey and rode all the way up to the Monastery. Of course the Donkeys knew to stop at the booth of their owner’s family where my new friend Noel made us tea and tried to sell us all manner of souvenirs.
From Noel’s shop we’d climb up to the Monastery.