Saturday, January 07, 2006

Petra: Wed 28th December 2005

Looking out of the Siq to the Treasury at duskFamously described as “A rose-red city half as old as Time” in a poem by J W Burgon; and he had not even visited the place at that stage. When he did, sixteen years later, he wrote to his sister “there is nothing rosy about Petra, by any means.” Nevertheless the colours are fabulous and varied.

We walked from our hotel to the Petra gate and down through the Siq to the “Treasury” (which it never was)The Treasury in the morning sun then down past various other tombs (the whole place is one huge cemetery) down the colonnaded street for lunch at the restaurant. After lunch we climbed the 900 steps up to the “Monastery” (which it never was – it was another tomb or possibly a temple). It is a fabulously huge edifice with expansive views to be had nearby. The Monastery afternoon sunThen it was a 2-hour walk back down to the valley floor then up through the main part of Petra and back to the hotel. After dinner there was a quite interesting power-point presentation about recent digs in Petra, most of which they have covered in again. The valley floor outside the Treasury is actually 7m higher than it was when the Naboteans carved the place. In some places the rubble that has washed down in the intervening centuries is 9m deep.

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