61 Photos - Feb 12, 2009
Photo: Photo: The King Abdullah Mosque in Amman, shot from our hotel window. The mosque was completed in 1990.Photo: The booming construction scene in AmmanPhoto: The Grand Hyatt Hotel in Amman was spectacularly beautiful and one of the nicest hotels we have ever stayed in.  This hotel was the scene of a bombing three years ago in which scores of people died. Security at the hotel was very tight--cars cannot drive near the hotel and all entering guests are frisked a long distance from the hotel.Photo: Beautiful flowers in the lobbyPhoto: Driving through the desert from Amman to Petra, a distance of about 150 miles.  Looking towards the horizon is Mount Nebo from where Moses saw the Promised Land but never entered it.  Moses is buried on Mount Nebo at an unknown location.Photo: Entering the modern town of PetraPhoto: Over beyond these rocks is one of the Wonders of the World, ancient Petra.Photo: The road entering Petra.  We made a round trip journey of about five miles almost all on foot except for the final segment on horseback.Photo: Caves near the entrance to Petra.  Many of the caves are also tombs.Photo: Photo: Shortly after entering the site, the cliffs begin to rise on both sides and the passageways narrow.Photo: We started our journey in the early afternoon--some tourists were already returning from the start of their trek in the morning.Photo: Petra is Jordan's biggest tourist attraction.  While long known, it became much more popular after being featured in the 1989 Harrison Ford movie, "Indian Jones and the Last Crusade."Photo: There are horses, carriages, camels and lots of tourists on this path.Photo: Most of Petra was built between the 3rd century B.C. and the first century A.D.  It was eventually annexed to Rome.Photo: Drainage channels along the road. It doesn't rain often here but when it does, the area can be subject to extreme flash floods.  In 1964, 29 tourists were killed during such flooding.Photo: The scale of the cliffs is daunting.Photo: Roman control was followed by a Christian regime and then Muslim dominance.  The Crusaders conquered the area in the 12th century but then Petra was largely forgotten until 1812.Photo: The color of the rocks is gorgeous.Photo: The elephant rockPhoto: It looks almost like persons couldn't squeeze through here but everyone manages to do it.Photo: The ancient entrance to Petra is called the Siq.  The anticipation really begins to grow as one walks through here.Photo: Water channels in the rockPhoto: Photo: Although we did not visit at night, thousands of candles illuminate the major sites after dark.Photo: The Nabateans are responsible for the monuments of Petra; their ethnicity is traced to Arabia.Photo: Up ahead is the first glimpse of Petra's most famous monument, the Treasury.Photo: The Treasury was carved in the 1st century B.C. out of solid rock.Photo: The Nabateans would have had no precedent for such a building; many think the designers were imported from Greece.Photo: The Treasury was prominently featured in the Indiana Jones movie.Photo: A full view of the Treasury carve-out--spectacular!Photo: The site in front of the Treasury is full of all sorts of donkeys and camels.Photo: Not many persons tried the camels; we didn't inquire about the price--perhaps they were too expensive.Photo: Photo: Laura Bush tried one of these camels on her visit to Petra.Photo: The figure is thought to be the fertility goddess, El-Uzza.Photo: Colorful guard at the TreasuryPhoto: Looking away from the Treasury from its stepsPhoto: Excavations near the front of the TreasuryPhoto: Detail of the carving out of the rockPhoto: Looking back towards the Treasury as we prepared to continue our walk through PetraPhoto: Continuing along the Outer Siq away from the Treasury.  Many of these monuments held tombs at the upper levels to protect against animals and grave robbers.Photo: The theater with tomb facades near the topPhoto: The theater was built in the 1st century, A.D. and had a capacity of 6,000 persons.Photo: Numerous tombs are in nearby rocks.Photo: Here the path changed and became almost like a sandy beach.Photo: The Royal Tombs.  The center tomb is the Urn Tomb which some historians say houses the Nabatean King Malchus II who died in 70 A.D.Photo: Some tourists take the steep walk up to the tomb--it takes about 1 1/2 hours roundtrip.Photo: Royal Tombs panoramaPhoto: Nearing the half-way point of our five mile trekPhoto: A wider view of the Tombs--left to right are the Corinthian, Silk and Urn Tombs.Photo: Approaching the ancient city of PetraPhoto: Today, only a few ruins remain of what was once a great city.Photo: Looking through the Temenos Gate back towards the Tombs-animal deities are carved on the column capitals.Photo: Qasr El-Bint El-Faroun or the Palace Of The Pharaho's Daughter. It was Petra's main temple in the 1st century B.C.Photo: The tented area marked the end of our walk into Petra and a spot for a late lunch.  Afterwards, we made our return trip.Photo: It was the late afternoon by now and quite cool on this January day as we made the trip back, much of it uphill.Photo: The horses were very tame and stay overnight along the road in makeshift stables at the end of the journey.Photo: Photo: Unlike some animals that perform this kind of work, these horses seemed to be in very good shape.