Tuesday, May 21, 2013

City of Petra - Half as old as Time

Situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Nabatean city of Petra is considered among the Seven Wonders of the World . In the description of the “universal outstanding value” of this World Heritage Site, UNESCO describes the ancient city as a “major caravan centre for the incense of Arabia, the silks of China and the spices of India , a crossroads between Arabia , Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia.” The poet John William Burgon memorably described the spellbinding ruins of Petra as “a rose-red city half as old as time.” Around AD 663, an earthquake destroyed parts of Petra and choked water supply, leading to its abandonment. The city remained lost to the world until the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, in the guise of an Arabic scholar, rediscovered it for the Western world.

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amazing-facts-petra3Petra, a world hidden within the mountains of Jordan , was built several centuries ago. This ancient "caravan city" was the capital of the Nabataean Arabs, an ancient Semitic race of people who inhabited Jordan . They were mostly traders and agriculturists.

amazing-facts-petra2Perhaps the most stereotyped image of Petra is Al Khazneh or the Treasury. Entry is through the Siq, a long narrow gorge, no more than 3 meters wide in some places, which gives the impression that the mountain has parted ways to allow you to enter it. Back in the day, caravans made their grand entry to Petra via the Siq.

Tombs, caves, temples, monasteries, amphitheatres, gates, street facades – you need at least a couple of days to explore Petra .

amazing-facts-petra1The rock-cut architecture takes your breath away. Animals, deities and mortals, mostly carved in rock, greet you everywhere in this World Heritage Site. The architecture is heavily influenced by Assyrian, Egyptian, Hellenistic and Roman styles.

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