Saturday, August 11, 2012

The High Altar

This is the high altar of sacrifice in Petra. A pretty substantial hike up narrow stairs chiseled out of the rocks, to one of the highest peaks in the region and a view over a large part of the city. The top was probably used for cultic ceremonies, as the name subtly suggests.

Roasting in the desert heat, but well worth the hike and sweat

The hike up through a bit of a gorge
Some sort of monuments or ritual items at the top

Tombs look a lot smaller from this high up

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Siq

The siq is a seriously cool, super narrow, meandering gorge which you enter Petra through. The walls are towering, and like most things in Petra, contain a variety of brilliant colors which seem to change by time of day as light hits it from different angles. The most amazing thing I found were the water channels the Nabataeans carved into each side of the siq to transport water downhill to the city, which could probably be functional to this day. Along the Siq there are various carvings, steep stairwells leading to places, and remnants of arches and other architectural features since removed. The Siq abruptly ends after 1 km when it opens up and you are struck with the view of the behemoth Treasury, the symbol of Petra. You can literally spend at least an hour just sittin there staring at this block of carved stone, feeling puny, while checking out the architectural details and the ridiculous scale of things. Its friggin impressive.

Check out the size of the people!
Water channels curving around with the walls

The donkeys are mainly for show, but you can pay a couple bucks (after hard negotiating), for a ride elsewhere in Petra. I skipped the camel but did take a donkey a few times.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


This place is magnificent and massive. I'm going to take a quite a few posts just to put up pictures of different places in the complex and maybe explain a thing or two, because it is not a place that can be summed up so quickly. It must be on a similar scale to the pyramids. You look up at some towering entrance-way and scratch your head and say 'dang, that is incredible, how the heck did they build that thing?' I spent two full days meandering desert and canyons to the various tombs and structures constructed by the Nabataeans thousands of years ago, marveling at their grandiosity. Aside from the still standing monuments, just walking around and seeing thousands of fallen and piled monoliths, ruins of former structures, makes you wonder what this place was like before the earthquakes. It must have been a bustling and wealthy city. The colors of the rocks are hundreds of brilliant shades of red and orange, which draw a sharp contrast to the vast and cloudless blue sky and blend with the barren desert valley landscape.

Before you even get into the Petra complex, mega structures start, and just get more impressive as you go on.

This road is at least 1 km or more, leading to the entrance to Petra valley. I walked it the first day but then took a donkey back up after 8 hours of solid walking. In the beginning I was all gung-ho and exited and wanted to walk it all, but by the end I was saying 'Surre, I'll pay a dollar or two for a ride up this'. My feet were dead after the first day.

Djinn Blocks
Mr. Djinn.
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