Prepare yourself for the long walk into Petra. The road in is rocky, dusty and unstable underfoot, and most visitors are unaware of the challenge before starting the hike into the ruins. Petra is at the end of a slot canyon so, the walls of the canyon rise up on either side of the road.
The sandstone is the color of pink and very soft, and so, sometimes, Petra is know as the Pink City. The temperature on the road changes along the way because, at times, the sun does not reach in,
and, at times, it does.
Along the way, you can find evidence of past civilizations like this shrine carved into the stone.
Then, just when you think you cannot walk another ten feet, the gorge opens, and a glimpse of the Petra Treasury peeks through.
At this point, you stop thinking about your tired feet and start getting excited. AHHHHhhhh, the rest is magical.
This elaborate facade is called the Treasury because lore has it that treasure is hidden somewhere in the carved rock. Some say that desert bandits and pirates hid their loot in the urn at the top of the treasury. The facade has been throughly searched, but no booty has yet to be found. I believe that there could be no greater treasure than Petra, itself. Petra is the treasure.
If you are game, you can make friends with a camel taking a break….
and then continue walking past the Treasury and explore the rest of the city that was built over 2000 years ago. Archiologists believe that the Nabateans, Arab caravan traders, developed Petra after they discovered that Petra was perfect for collecting the three most important things to have in a desert…water! Water! WATER!!! The Nabateans cut temples, tombs, storerooms, and houses into the pink rock.
These ancient people have disappeared, but the ruins of their contributions remain, and eerily, have become home to some of today’s desert merchants
and their livestock.
The way out of Petra is no easier than the way in. In fact, it is more difficult as the walk is uphill. Note the rocky road and the incline.
Some visitors elect to take the easy way out of the canyon by using one of the many horse drawn carriages available. It might cost about $30.00 US dollars for this accommodation. Most carriage drivers do not own the carriages and work for tips alone. The overworked horses are asked to haul tourists both in and out of the canyon,
and so my traveling companion and I finished this junket the way we started….as on foot animal advocates.
Instead of a carriage ride, we prefer to remember the sight of the this clever and colorful master with his obedient human posing for a picture as we walked by.
Farewell, Petra. The Unseasoned Traveler.