Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The urn tomb

The urn tomb is part of the royal tombs. Royal, because they must be, they built the arena right across from it. These are the tombs of royalty, the people gather in the arena across from it, to celebrate these dead people. The royal tombs form a huge complex, stretching from one to another, covering the whole mountain side. It is awe inspiring, it must be too, in the time when people lived here. Today only the bedouins camp out here, offering services to tourists and selling trinkets.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A picture of me

Lately we are more mindful of the fact that all our pictures don't have us in them. We have, of late, tried to insert more of ourselves into the pictures we take. Most of the time we are too busy using our cameras to take pictures of the place that we forget to stop and insert ourselves into them. I found more pictures of me in this trip.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Married to a bedouin

Not! Years ago there was this nurse from New Zealand who visited, stayed and married this bedouin. Life must be so boring for her or she needed something to write home about. She stayed, raised a few kids, sold trinkets to tourists, he died and she moved back home. The book doesn't talk much about him, probably because there wasn't anything about him, it was all about her and even then it was so boring. A little visit to see Petra is quite enough, now onward to other things and other places!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The arena

It is so amazing that they carved an arena out of solid rock. An arena in the midst of a burial place? It was probably more for funeral services than for entertainment. Author, Jane Taylor writes..."The zeal of the Nabataeans in chiselling their vast theatre out of the solid rock is a source of wonder. To trace a semicircle on level ground is no great matter, to do so on a convoluted rock-face, using no sophisticated tools is decidedly more taxing." While it looked Roman, it was decided this was done before the Roman invasion and that this is pure Nabataean. It was built in the area that overlooked most of the important tombs, near the 'streets of Facades'. In March 1991 the whole of most of Petra including the arena was flooded. Excavation has dammed most of the flow of the flow of water. The arena became a swimming pool. This would never have happened in Nabataean times, they had a sophisticated water channel and cistern system in place.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The tomb of 'Uneishu'

While most tombs are unidentifiable, there are found inscriptions in this one. Hence they know it belonged to a one named 'Uneishu' brother of Shaqileth, Queen of the Nabataeans. All the tombs in Petra belonged to royalty and the wealthy. It was probably not cheap to carve such massive and grand tombs like these. This could be dubbed as the Nabataean 'valley of the kings' or 'valley of the queens.'

Friday, February 24, 2012

The treasury 2

The front of the treasury is a staging ground, one can catch a ride back to the entrance after a long day hiking in Petra.

Or one can just meet up with friends here. The grandeur of the treasury was to instill a sense of might and awe in visitors in the olden days. It still has the same effect today. Petra was only discovered quite late because of the security of the narrow siq and if and when anyone finds their way there, they are struck by a sense of awe at the might of the Nabataeans.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The treasury 1

 This is the most coveted view of the treasury. It is known as the treasury because the urban legend was that one of the Pharoahs' of Egypt stored his treasure here. But nothing could be further from the truth, the fact is this was a facade tomb with a burial chamber in the centre. After the long trek through the narrow siq, suddenly this structure comes into view and it is the most photographed part of Petra.

There's always people and animals milling around in front of the treasury. Unless one comes before the crowds, there'll always be people assembled here, more during the later hours of the day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The niche monument in the siq

The siq is quite barren of any significant carved monuments except for this. This is the largest niche monument in the siq. I've seen pictures where there is no metal barrier protecting it. The metal barrier was there during our visit to protect the monument.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The siq 2

It is narrow and in some places only allow a horse cart to come through. When you hear the sound of horse hooves, it is wise to move out of the way. The color of the rock changed each minute depending on the warmth of the sun. The advice is to start at 10 in the morning when the sun is up and you'll see the rocks come alive and be fired up. In the early hours of the morning it is pale and dull and take on a different persona, but is still fantastic.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The siq 1

The 'Bab-as-siq' is the gateway to the gorge. It is the only way in and out of it. So every morning we would walk this narrow path into the gorge and at the end of the day walk the return trip. It is long, narrow and twisty with the huge rock faces towering above on both sides forming an incredible awesome view, each face has a different color tint. It is hard to describe, only a visit can justify its beauty. Once in a while the sound of horses hooves are heard and we have to move aside or else get run over by the horse carts. Petra is so well preserved because the 'siq' protected it from discovery for centuries.