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I take it a tourism that left native Tel Aviv. After ~ a seven-hour drive, we stopped at this philosophy in Jordan over looking the valley where Petra is located. Even from this vantage point, the desert is stunning.

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Our guide was a Jordanian male named Nizar Alhasani. Alhasani studied international relations in ~ the university of Wisconsin and also in Chicago. The told us that he'd spent some time advising the united state military throughout the war in Iraq, yet gave that up for tourism guiding ~ his auto hit one IED.


When you arrive at Petra, you room surrounded by shops marketing the normal trinkets. Up till 1985, when Petra was named a UNESCO people Heritage site, the Bdoul Bedouin tribe resided in caves inside the city. The Jordanian government struck a deal with the Bdoul, Alhasani said, that permitted them exclusive rights to travel businesses in Petra so long as they relocated to a settlement a couple of miles from the site.


To start, girlfriend walk down this open road for around a mile. Two thousand years ago, as soon as the Nabatean empire was at its peak, Petra was the trade terminus for the ancient Near East. One can imagine camel caravans traveling down this roadway to the entrance of the city, laden v spices and other precious goods.

One the the main businesses run by the Bdoul is horseback and carriage rides to the main sites in Petra. But you have to be careful, Alhasani said: The Bdoul shot all sorts of tricks to different tourists from their money. Among the much more popular grifts is to tell friend the horseback journey is cost-free and included in your ticket. In ~ the finish of the ride, they will tell you tips are not included and also demand $50 or more.

The simplest way to prevent the grifts is a firm "No, thank you." us opted to walk, but, during the day, it's scorching hot. Several of the people in ours tour group opted to buy a kaffiyeh, a traditional Middle eastern headdress. As soon as I saw just how it retained the sweat from their faces, ns was wishing I had bought one.

While it's not known specifically when Petra was built, most believe the area chin was first inhabited as much as 10,000 year ago. The site truly began to prosper approximately 100 B.C.E once the Nabatean Empire became a commerce hub. Together you walk in the direction of the center of the city, the "Bab Al Siq," or gateway road, is flanked by tombs.

Along the Bab Al Siq are three enormous "Djinn" blocks, which space square monuments sculpted out of solid sandstone. Tiny is known around why lock exist.

The next structure along the road is the column Tomb. There are 4 pyramids above the tomb and statues that stand for the five people hidden there.

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The bottom floor the the dig is a banquet hall, when a year the household of the deceased came to hold a feast to respect the dead and clean the tomb, Alhasani explained.

As we reached the bottom that a sloping path, Alhasani quit the group. He defined that decades ago, tourists supplied to gain hurt by speed floods when it rained at Petra.

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As the Jordanian government searched for a solution, excavators found this 300-foot tunnel cut into the rock. Built by the Nabataeans, the tunnel diverts flash flood water to two huge cisterns that gave water come the city.

This road into the rock valley is whereby Petra begins. Called the Siq, the road is the ancient entrance come Petra. That is do of a break-up rock a little over half a mile long. Many of the rock separation is a organic formation and also reaches up to 250 feet in height.

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The imagery is a mélange the the Egyptian, Assyrian, Greek, Roman, and Mesopotamian cultures that passed with Petra by trade. There are also sculptures of elephants, i m sorry some take to be proof of the city"s link to India.

Source: Lonely Planet

This damaged carved sculpture depicts a trader, as confirmed by the hooves the the camel the stands beside him.

You need to stay alert when walking down the Siq. In ~ some parts it is less than 10 feet wide. The Bedouins often barrel with on steed carriages transporting tourists. They won't stop or move out of the means for you.

While many of the Siq is a herbal rock formation, some components were sculptured through the Nabataeans. But, in general, the Siq was maintained narrow to save out invading armies.

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The high walls about Petra, the bordering mountains, and the winding gorge of the Siq all offered as a natural defenses for those looking come raid the city. In countless places, the Siq is only broad enough for 2 camels at a time.

Source: Smithsonian Magazine

The name Petra comes from the Greek word because that rock. In Arabic, however, Petra is called "al-madina al ward ah," which means rose-colored city. Slightly an ext poetic.

At that peak, Petra was residence to roughly 30,000 people, by part estimates. The city was kept thanks to an exceptional water management system that used comprehensive network of dams, cisterns, reservoirs, and aqueducts. Water was lastly pumped come the city in clay pipes with the Siq to the remainder of the city.

The moment when you reach the finish of the Siq is more magnificent than deserve to be expressed in words. One needs to imagine world-weary traders in ~ the end of a long journey, spotting the intricately sculpted rose rock facade and knowing they'd reached a an excellent civilization.

Al Khazna, or the Treasury, is the first structure you watch upon start the city. In ~ 150 feet tall and also around 100 feet wide, that is the masterpiece of Petra. Excavators are split on the function of Al Khazna.

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Many think it to be the tomb of vital Nabatean king, if some think it to be a temple or a ar to keep documents.

Source: VisitJordan, VisitPetra

The Treasury is a stunning vision to behold. Excavators know it was among the later structures developed in Petra as result of the frame around the carving which is missing in few of the older structures.

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The frame is believed to have been presented by the roman Empire, which annexed the Nabataean realm in 63 B.C.E. The Nabateans stayed an independent client state of Rome up till the end of the very first century C.E.

Source: Brown University

Petra prospered under Roman dominion up till an earthquake in 363 C.E. Decimated the city. It went unentered by outsiders for almost 600 years. Only neighborhood Bedouin people knew the its presence until Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt heard locals talking about the city while in Cairo.

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In 1812, that disguised himself together an Arab scholar and convinced a guide to take him to the dig of Haroun (the Arab surname of Aaron, the biblical prophet), which he knew to be close to the valley. As suspected, the overview took him v Petra.

From the Treasury, a path left opens out right into the remainder of the city. Neighborhood Bedouin tribes had actually tried for centuries to hide Petra's existence as they fear treasure hunters would certainly raid the city.

One the the many impressive frameworks in the main city is the amphitheater. Developed during the top of the Nabatean empire, the theater can seat 8,500 people. Once it was first built, it organized 3,000 people and also was primarily used because that political functions. Later on, Romans broadened it and also introduced the idea of making use of it for entertainment.

Outside the Siq and also the Treasury is what is dubbed the "Street of Facades." top top both political parties of the area are a swarm of tombs v crow-stepped attics. Some archaeologists believe these tombs held senior officials or princes.

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Along the way there are some tombs that you deserve to actually walk in. The area is thought to be the oldest burial ground in Petra.