|Barbara and I have been looking forward to this day with great anticipation and excitement and we were not disappointed at all! Petra is one of the most amazing sights either of us have ever seen and I plan to keep this entry brief so you can spend time looking at the photos. If you are at all impressed with my pictures do a search for Petra, because I have seen some fantastic photos on the web. We arrived at the site at 7:30 AM and began our 20 minute walk through an extremely narrow and deep gorge immediately. There comes a point at which there is a sliver of the Treasury visible (see photo) and this becomes view becomes larger as you walk, until you are standing in front of the breathtaking sight of the façade of the Treasury (actually a temple, but called a treasury because when first discovered it was believed to contain many treasures). It is difficult to leave the view of this building which (like all the important buildings in Petra) is completely and totally carved out of the sandstone rock face.
A little history: Petra was first built by the Nabateans in the first century BC, then in 300 AD the Romans swept in, took control and added their own touches which we have seen elsewhere in our travels. The city was pretty much abandoned after a huge earthquake destroyed the city in 750 AD, but still inhabited for the next1200 years by Bedouins. In 1812 a Swiss explorer heard of the existence of a fabled city hidden in the mountains in this region, and was only allowed in after convincing the locals that he would not plunder the city. About 30 years ago the Jordanian government relocated the Bedouins, but granted them permission to come into Petra every day and sell postcards, jewelery (I bought a ring), and other tourist things, plus run a couple of restaurants and offer tourists donkey rides up to the higher sites. And that is how it goes today.
We took a one-hour strenuous walk up to the King's Tomb in the morning and another 45 minute steep walk up to the Sacrifice of the High Place in the afternoon. By the end of the day we were exhausted, and not only from walking (it was a very hot day), but from the sheer excitement of what we saw during the day.