California to Jerusalem

We visit Petra's namesake.

For most of my life since college I have wanted to visit Petra, the city. Petra, the lady, has had a similar wish. On the 18th of December we did just that. Before we were married, I showed Petra a coin from Petra that I had purchased a few years earlier. That's when she first told me of her wish to visit there too. It took us seven and a half years to get here.

Petra was the center of the Nabatean kingdom that controlled trade in the area from a few centuries before Christ to the sixth century after Christ when trade routes changed. An earthquake finally destroyed it in the early seventh centruy. It was abandoned to the desert sands and only rediscovered by the Europeans in the nineteenth century.

We entered Jordan late in the afternoon in Aqaba, visited Petra, stayed overnight in Amman, visited Mt Nebo where Moses saw the Promised Land, and left via the King Hussein Bridge (Alanbee to the Israeli). Jordan was for us Petra. We were in Jordan less than 48 hours. That's the rush of a tour--you get to see tens of places in a couple weeks, but none in depth. Sometime I'd like to spend a week or more in Petra and it's near-by town, Wadi Musa.

Petra stands near the visitor's center as we get ready to enter the ruins of Petra, the city. I'm excited. She is excited. 18 Dec 10

We have half a mile to walk before we get to the entrance. Petra opts for a horse provided by the park. She said it was great letting her healing leg dangle as she road. 18 Dec 10

Petra left us in the dust as she road forward to the entrance. 18 Dec 10

Our guide, Fadi, has a story to tell about the tombs carved in the wall here but his audience does not seem to be giving him due attention. 18 Dec 10

The entrance to Petra is down an ever narrowing and deepening, half-mile (one-kilometer) canyon between sandstone cliffs. This is the beginning of that canyon. The now broken channel on the left once brought water to the city. 18 Dec 10

The canyon quickly narrows and deepens. 18 Dec 10

At places it widens for a while only to close in again. 18 Dec 10

Finally we get our first glimpse of the Treasury, the first tomb of the city. 18 Dec 10

A few yards farther and we see a sliver of the tomb. 18 Dec 10

I had to pose in front of the Treasury, so called because when it was first rediscovered, people thought the ancients had stashed away treasure here. They shot at many of the statues on the front hoping to expose that treasure. Nothing materialized. 18 Dec 10

The top and the bottom of the Treasury. Most of the monuments here are carved out of the rock. Almost all are tombs. 18 Dec 10

Two kitties in front of the Treasury. 18 Dec 10

Another large tomb around the corner from the Treasury. We could walk into this one. There was nothing there. It looks like we could have walked into the Treasury also, but we didn't. 18 Dec 10

Petra's leg was hurting and she wanted to ride a camel. She solved both problems by paying a few Jordanian pounds to a cameleer (there were many to choose from). She got on, road around showing off a bit, and then swayed back to the entrance proceeded by her gallant cameleer. She was clearly ecstatic. 18 Dec 10

Another elaborately carved tomb. Notice the people standing and sitting. This place is big. 18 Dec 10

The remains of a street and huge plaza in front of some temples ruined by the seventh-century earthquake. 18 Dec 10

The remains of the temple dedicated to Petra's principal god. I have forgotten his name at this time as I write. 18 Dec 10

Looking back from the temple across the main town plaza. The large tomb a few pictures back is in the center of the far cliff wall. 18 Dec 10

As we drove through Wadi Musa, the town next to Petra, I discovered that Petra owned far more than she had been letting me know. Here are the signs on the front of only a few of those businesses. 18 Dec 10

We only stopped at the hotel in Amman, Jordan's capitol. I had to take pictures out of the bus windows coming in the evening and leaving in the morning. Few worked. Notice the huge Jordanian flag in this morning shot of a neighborhood. 18 Dec 10

We stopped at Mt Nebo where Moses got his chance to see the Promised Land before he died. But We couldn't see that land ourselves. There was too much sand in the air to see the few miles down to the Jordan river and across. So we headed down to the border crossing on the north end of the Dead Sea. 19 Dec 10

The Bible is full of sheep. The Middle East is still full of sheep. We passed this mass on the way down to the border. 19 Dec 10

The Jordan Valley by the Dead Sea is green and here are several villages just before crossing into Israel on King Hussein (Huseen) Bridge. For military reasons, I have no pictures of the border itself. It was easy leaving Jordan but a two-hour ordeal entering Israel. 19 Dec 10

Return to where you came from.

Back to top.

Copyright © 2011-2012 Mike Metras,