THE RED ROSE CITY
Lost City of Petra, Rock City. These are the nicknames given to Petra. But the one I like the most is Red Rose City. It may not be as popular as the Lost City, and I don’t even know if people acknowledge there was Red Rose City name, but to me, it is kind of symbolic.
Petra is located mere 3-hour drive from city center Amman. It could be challenging because of the bumpy road and if you drive out as early in the morning as 6 am, be very careful with the fog while driving. It was thick and I could barely see any further than the side of the road. Or maybe it depends on the season. Well, if only you are to drive yourself there. To answer some of the fans theories regarding Petra, does it have an entrance like a water-themed park? The answer is an easy yes
The first hundred steps after you pass the ticket gate will serve you with this view. This is the path that will lead you to the Siq. The Siq is the main entrance to the ancient Nabatean city of Petra.
When we talk about Petra, we talk about some ancient mystery of human mankind. The mystery that until today remain unfolded. A kingdom made out of carved rocks. How did it start? How did it end? Some of the things that the inhabitants left were the series of messages scratched on the rocks all over Petra. But believe me, once you are here, none of these things would amaze you. The encyclopedic view that you know you will only see once in your lifetime is the thing that will take your breath away. Well unless for me 🙂
Find yourself feeling high in curiosity when you make your way in between Siq. It is the main road that leads to the city, starting from the Dam and ends at the Treasury. It is believed that this pathway was formed by tectonic force which caused the rock to dramatically split in half. Siq stretches for 1.2km and those who want to cut short the memory of appreciating this beauty of nature can hop on horse with carriage. I personally enjoyed the long stroll because it made the view you would see at the edge of the Siq more rewarding. The Treasury.
What is Petra actually? Well Petra is a sanctuary for archaeologists all over the world for its vast history. Carved directly into vibrant red, white, pink, and sandstone cliff faces, the prehistoric Jordanian city of Petra was “lost” to the Western world for hundreds of years. Thanks to John Lewis Burckhardt, this city was rediscovered by him 200 years ago. Located amid rugged desert canyons and mountains in what is now the southwestern corner of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Petra was once a thriving trading center and the capital of the Nabataean empire between 400 B.C. and A.D. 106. Now named as one of new Seven Wonders of the World, no wonder this place is always appearing on those top travel lists.
People all over the world come to Petra to behold this. The most remarkable surface of rock of Petra and it’s called the Treasury. What a great way to build up the suspense, hiking for a distance in an impressive gorge, until you are bestowed with the Treasury.
You will find yourself in the middle of huge crowd in front of the Treasury. Whether they are tourists taking photo with selfie stick, Bedouin kids selling photos and postcards, and camel and donkey handlers.
In its full glory. You will be astonished by how colossal this monument stands and I believe it is somewhere near 40 meters.
Approximately 800 steps from the lower side of Petra, there stood another prominent monument of Petra, called The Monastery. Some people who have been to Petra numerous times would say they enjoy being in the Monastery rather than Treasury because less people roaming here.
As good as that may sound or as magnificence of a view as the Monastery is, the journey to set a foot here was painful and only people with great will and determination would make it till the very last. The trek challenges your physical and mental strength. Exactly when you feel like giving up, there are always donkey and camel riders sitting every 100 meters to lure you into cheap rides to the Monastery. Once at the top, you won’t regret the effort that you made.
The place is best explored on foot. I had initially planned to take the donkey ride on my way down to save time, but I enjoyed it so much that I decided to complete the whole walk myself.
Although not as decorated, it is very impressive. Beautifully carved out of the rocky surface. The Monastery is similar to design to the Treasury, but it is much larger. The facade is flat on the lower level and deeply carved on the upper level, with engaged columns and two half-pediments flanking a central urn. We could go further up the hill to the spot where the Bedouin people said the best spot to view Petra to the fullest but our mental and physical strength forbade us from doing so. Until today, I immensely treasure my decision to go climb the steps and see The Monastery by myself.
Petra is a place that influences history and all other mystical things. I will not forget the incredible texture of its hill. And also the feel when I caressed my finger on the canyon of the Siq. Last but not least, the sensation that blew straight into my face when I first had the glimpse of the most majestic Treasury. It was surreal. It has everything that a traveler would normally describe a place in one word except for one thing, ‘vibrant’. With these photos, I hope that I can be able to convey some of what I believe make Petra such a fantastic and unique place. Filled with historic and natural wonders, I would urge anyone with a love of history, sense of adventure, or a curiosity of different cultures to consider Jordan for one of those trips of a lifetime.