I had a lovely day today, a day I had been looking forward to for quite some time – hiking into Petra from the ‘back door.’ It started out with clouds and rain. I was really bummed because the beauty of today’s hike was seeing the marvelous monastery, temples, and other buildings the Nabataeans carved into the towering sandstone cliffs of the wadi bathed in sunlight. After an hour or so of hiking, the sun was out and the sky was blue.
The Nabataeans built Petra in the 6th century BC and inhabited it for the next 500 years. They accumulated their wealth as organized traders but, when the trade routes shifted, the city went into decline and by AD 106 the Romans assumed control of the weakened Nabataean empire. They recast the ancient city with familiar Roman features including a colonnaded street and baths.
The hike from Little Petra to Petra only took a couple of hours so I had a good 8 hours to explore Petra. I pretty much got to explore the entire place and left out just a few places that hopefully I can see tomorrow on my way to Gaa’ Mriebed.
I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the Monastery and the Treasury. Words and pictures just can’t capture these majestic structures. I climbed up to the High Place of Sacrifice where they used to sacrifice animals to the gods. It was here where I got a bird’s eye view of Petra and the surrounding wadis.
I wasn’t used to the masses of tourists and all the Bedouins hawking tourist trinkets. They were kind of aggressive sales people. When I kindly told them I wasn’t interested in buying anything in the few Arabic words I know, they did didn’t hound me. It was a bit different with the tourists as they would follow them and put necklaces around their necks, scarves around their heads, and bracelets around their wrists, all the time saying, “I give you special price, you are my friend. I don’t give this to anyone but you.” I really feel sorry for the Bedouins because they struggle extremely hard to make a living. Many of them do not sell anything all day long even with their aggressive tactics.
I was almost sorry I had to leave Petra and head on down the trail.
You can find all my journal entries from hiking the Jordan Trail here: Jordan Trail