4.15.2012

JORDAN//PETRA

Warning: Picture overload!

After leaving Karak Castle, we continued on our way to Petra.


Luckily Petra was somewhat well marked (by Middle Eastern standards) because the GPS was not not being very helpful...


Despite less-than-ideal GPS directions, we arrived safe and sound in Petra!



Once we arrived at our hotel (Movenpick Resort-Petra) we checked in and headed to get our entry tickets for Petra. Our hotel was literally at the entrance to Petra. It was so convenient, especially since we made several trips between Petra and the hotel in the two days we were there.

When you enter the ancient city of Petra the first thing you notice are huge rock formations and carvings. Some are quite impressive...but nothing compared to what you find as you venture deeper in to the city.





About a 10 minute walk from the entrance brings you to The Siq...a narrow, mile-long gorge that is filled with more beautiful formations.












When you make it to the end of the Siq you are face to face with probably the most known and recognizable part of Petra (especially for those Indiana Jones fans out there)...The Treasury.







One explanation for how this structure became known as "The Treasury" (al Khazneh in arabic) comes from a legend that there was money hidden in the urn at the top of the building. And, in the photo below you can actually see dents and marks made by individuals shooting at the urn hoping to break it and spill out the supposed treasure.


Before heading back to the hotel we wandered a bit past the Treasury...

{Donkeys that you can rent to ride through Petra if you would rather not walk...I felt so sorry for those poor animals}

{More structures carved in to the rock..I was amazed at how well-preserved a lot of the ruins were!}


...then got a couple more photos of the Treasury...





...and then headed back to the hotel to grab some dinner since we would be heading right back to this very spot at dark for the Petra by Night Tour!

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The night tour was a neat experience, especially having seen the Siq and the Treasury in the daytime. We (along with about 100 or so other people) met around 8:30 at the gates to Petra, then walked through the Siq to the Treasury guided only by candle light.

{Some of the votive candles lining the path and lighting the way as we walked through the Siq to the Treasury}
Once at the Treasury, there were hundreds of candles placed at the base of the building illuminating it in candle light. Unfortunately the pictures don't quite capture the full effect, but you can get a sense for what it looked like.





We all sat along the perimeter of the Treasury and listened as our guides played some traditional music and sang some songs. This part of the tour I found to drag on a bit, but it was still an awe-inspiring experience to sit in the pitch black among the candles and music and just stare up at this massive structure built in to the rock.

Once the show was over, we headed back through the Siq and back to our hotel. We wanted to get as much rest as possible because the next day we planned on heading right back to Petra to do some more exploring.

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The next morning we woke up at the crack of dawn (literally), grabbed some breakfast and arrived at Petra around 7 am to begin our walk to The Monastery.

Again, we walked through the Siq...




{I realize I am dressed like a crazy person, but it was early and cold and, frankly, I didn't care...}


...then walked past the Treasury and explored some more of the ruins and archeological finds...






{Our companion for a good part of the walk :)}




 ...then began our hour-long hike up the 800 or so steps to get to the Monastery.

{Steps...}

{...steps...}

{...and more steps}

{A nice photo-op to rest our legs mid hike}

Eventually we made it to the Monastery!

It was such a great feeling of accomplishment to see it emerge as we rounded a corner and made the hike up all of those stairs well worth it!







After taking some photos, we began our reverse trek down the stairs...



{Bedouin children riding their donkey}

 

Obviously we couldn't leave without a couple more pictures of the Treasury...



...and this photo, of course...

{Wearing a traditional head scarf...when in Jordan!}

After this long morning of walking, we went back to the hotel, changed, checked-out and headed to our final stop...Wadi Rum!


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