Skip to content
Home » The Face of the Rose-Red City: Magnificent Petra

The Face of the Rose-Red City: Magnificent Petra

    Our local guide had everyone link hands and close their eyes. Not really understanding why, everyone begrudgingly abided and lined-up on one edge of the canyon. The walls of the steep canyon tower 50 stories above our heads on each side, while we stand in a gap so small that you can sometimes touch both sides. The canyon looks as though it were carved and painted, presenting a natural beauty that seems to add mystique to the experience. The canyon, known as the Siq, is nearly empty due to our early start, a choice most people won’t appreciate until they make the return journey amidst the daytime crowds.

    The Siq was actually carved, but not by the roughly 30 thousand people estimated to have lived here almost 2000 years ago. A giant sandstone slab of rock was split by an earthquake before being worn smooth by water over hundreds of years. Later additions, such as the Roman paving stones or the exquisitely cut mini-aqueducts on each side of the canyon can go almost unnoticed as visitors stare up at the immense 1.5 km canyon they are walking through. This wasn’t the usual front door, archaeologists now believe it was the royal entrance, reserved for special visitors and important caravans.

    My first trip to Jordan was only half for work. I tagged along on a friend’s tour of the country, enjoying the nice things about being on an organized group tour without having any of the responsibility. I spent a bit of time with our passengers, but mostly I was intrigued by the locals. To this day, I consider Jordanians to be some of the most genuine people on earth. I have since been back dozens of times as Jordan is a place I will never tire of.

    The group, eyes closed, stumbles forward one step at a time. With arms linked, 15 people shuffling with eyes closed into the final gap of a massive canyon in front of one of the most recognizable monuments on earth would have appeared to be quite the ridiculous sight had anyone else been around to witness it. Our guide chuckled and lead the group that extra 10 meters forward before saying “Open your eyes!” as the entire group let out a gasp.

    You’ve undoubtedly seen the Treasury of Petra many times, whether on this site, travel books, your own travels, or by watching The Last Crusade. The massive facade is carved directly into solid sandstone, standing almost the same height as a 14 story building. Petra’s significance is truly unique in its strange mix of architecture and theology. A statue of Isis sits below a Nabatean/Greek eagle, with Victories on each side. Castor & Pollux, sons of Zeus, flank bottom entranceway. Everywhere there are dramatic lines that even today seem to have been cut perfectly.

    Among all the perfect lines, shades of blue, green, yellow, black, and grey all crisscrossing, the natural red shade of the rock seems to overpower everything else. Despite being one of the most amazing carvings in the world, it seems as though nature feels it should get the credit.

    As everyone dashed off to various corners of the open plaza to snap photos, I said “It’s amazing… To think that we are walking in the footsteps of kings, royalty, & adventurers…”

    “Forget the kings,” my friend replied calmly. “You’re walking in the footsteps of Harrison Ford.”

    We offer our Jordan Tour on a custom basis Jordan Adventure!

    Explore More Posts

    Southern India & Captivating Kerala

    [vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] Traveling to Kerala is not for the faint of heart, however it is absolutely worth it! In September 2016, Keri and I braved the journey to Southern India to attend the Kerala Travel Mart. We were fortunate enough to be invited on a tour beforehand, taking us from Bangalore to Cochin for 10 days….

    Continue reading

    Trekking with the Mountain Gorillas

    Want to Trek to See Gorillas?” Of course you do. Contact us for a once in a lifetime experience of trekking to see the majestic Mountain Gorillas. Need some inspiration? Check out our Kenya & Uganda Wildlife itinerary. [/vc_cta][vc_column_text] Nicola’s advice when Gorilla Trekking? “Try not to get sat on by a 550lb Silverback!” Nicola…

    Continue reading

    Argentina Travel – Yerba Mate Culture

    Since my first adventure to South America many moons ago, I have been intrigued by this mysterious herbal beverage that is sipped through a metal straw. Frequently consumed and shared in parks, on buses, trains, and even on horseback by gauchos, Porteño hipsters, bus drivers, families, and groups of friends alike. What is this substance?…

    Continue reading

    Piranha Fishing & Kissing in the Amazon

    Dug-out canoe Deep in Ecuador’s Amazon Basin, with sweat rolling down my back, I sat patiently in the dug-out canoe under the equatorial sun’s harsh rays. The surrounding jungle was tranquil in the mid-day heat and not the cacophony of sounds heard the night before. The occasional mosquito buzzing in my ear wasn’t enough to…

    Continue reading

    JOIN OUR FINISTERRA COMMUNITY

    Stay up-to-date with us when you sign up for our newsletter.

    * indicates required

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.