Petra. Wow. Petra. I’m not sure I can adequately describe the grandeur of this ancient city. It is absolutely without question one of the most impressive places I’ve had the great fortune to visit. Dating back to 300 BC, it was originally the home of the Nabataeans. Until about 20 years ago, this intricately carved city was home to the Bedouins who have since moved to the nearby city of Wasi Musa or into their traditional tents.

You enter the city through a long and narrowing passage of red and black waving sandstone called the Siq and at the end, catch a teasing glimpse of the Treasury and what is to come. You catch your breath.

A Glimpse of the Treasury (and a couple of dogs who came to greet us)

Walking through the opening the full impact of this impressive structure hits you. Breathtaking, and you can’t help but think of Harrison Ford and The Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The Treasury, with camel drivers awaiting riders

Then, you get to meet a real Bedouin, in full regalia! How cool is that?

The Treasury is only one of over 800 relics in Petra, but the most famous by far.  We wandered through the city and chanced upon a local Bedouin, Aman (not the one above), who offered us donkey rides up to two of the other major highlights: the High Place and the Monastery. Since it’s thousands of steps, the donkeys were very well cared for and healthy, we took him up on his offer. There’s no way I could have hiked up to these sites without good old “Mickey Mouse,” sure footed and steady.

Along the trail, Aman introduced to one of his Bedouin relatives who served us tea, a Jordanian tradition.  She also showed us artifacts from Petra’s history, such as old coins and some surprising ancient oil lamps with pornographic images on the back. Who knew the Nabataeans were a bit racy?

Bedouin woman serving tea

And finally, the Monastery.

5 thoughts on “Around the World Trip – Petra, Jordan

  1. I love the way you connect people to the place. It is interesting photographically as well as gives a sense of place. The lighting seems challenging and you did a nice job overcoming that obstacle. Your foreground to background relationships are interesting a pull me into the image. Have fun!

    Jim

  2. Wow Rachel – your photos are so impressive and the narratives are great – you would be a great history teacher. I’m loving vicariously traveling with you and Steve – keep the updates coming!

  3. I’m jealous that you got to see the Monastery. Robert and I couldn’t get that far. Glad to see your photo of it and that you saw more than the Treasury.
    What day(s) will you be at the Great Barrier Reef?

    1. We only got up to the Monastery thanks to the donkeys! No way I’d have made it up without them. We won’t be going to the Great Barrier Reef this trip. Next stop is the Taj Mahal, then Maldives.

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