petra: deserves top place on your list
Ancient ruins, windswept rock sculptures and a wild yet welcoming desert culture – this is the wonder of Jordan and why the remarkable country left such a lasting impression on Intrepid traveller Tori Salman…
“From the moment we enter the narrow, winding passageway called the Siq, I can barely contain my excitement. I’ve been dreaming of visiting Petra for years, and it is finally happening!
The walls of the Siq tower above our small group, and perhaps that’s why the passageways look as if they are narrowing. Suddenly, the Siq seems to open up and the sight before us takes our breath away. Standing almost directly in front of us is the Treasury. The enormous building is carved into a solid rock wall. The detail and craftsmanship of the ancient Nabateans is amazing and we feel like the size of ants in front of this magnificent rose-coloured structure.
The facade appears to have two levels – the lower level decorated with columns, then atop a classical type roofline, some sculptures looking a little worse for wear. Still not bad considering that the Treasury building is believed to have been constructed around the 1st century BC.
After time to wander and catch our breath, our guide leads us on through the Siq, and we pass through what looks like a colonnaded street, and then come across several more amazing structures. My favourites are the Temple of Winged Lions, or more specifically, the actual lion sculptures sitting atop the columns, and the Petra Church. The church was only discovered in 1990, and perhaps that is why its stunning mosaics depicting animals and mythology are so well preserved.
Petra is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it’s easy to see why. I could have spent days soaking in all the history and rock-hewn architecture. It’s a truly fascinating place that deserves pride and place at the top of your list!”
In August 2012 there will be an incredible party in Jordan to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the rediscovery of Petra. Intrepid has added a special departure of Explore Jordan on 18 August to coincide with the festivities.
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* photo by Scott Anderson – Intrepid Photography Competition