The real wonders of Petra
Indiana Jones is to blame if you really think about it. That iconic scene near the end of The Last Crusade highlights a building so fantastical that most people immediately thought it to be the creation of Hollywood. But slowly word leaked out that not only is it a real place, but it’s also pretty easy to visit.
TheTreasury, the most famous structure within the ancient city of Petra in Jordan may be the reason why so many people plan to visit, but almost immediately everyone begins to understand that it is just the beginning of the real wonders of Petra.
Originally built more than 2,000 years ago, Petra was at one time a crucial part of the worldwide commercial trading network; a massive city that prospered until, well, it didn’t. Just like in Indiana Jones, the city was lost to time, but not to the local Bedouins who have lived in the city’s caves for centuries – millennia really. The Western world rediscovered it in the early 19th century when a Swiss explorer found the Rose City, named for the marvelous light red hue of the stone from which the city is carved.
The only way to access Petra is by a rite a passage; a walk through the 1-kilometer long Siq. A massive slot canyon, the features of the Siq were at one time augmented to impress and intimate newcomers to the city, and it’s still impressing them today.
It’s a vital way I think to prepare yourself mentally for the journey that is to come. The walkway provides the first inkling about the size of the city and how amazing it is even today, centuries after the last inhabitant left.