One of the new seven wonders of the world, Petra is also classified as a World Heritage Site. It is one of the major tourist attraction in the country of Jordan, where we have docked for two days. For me, A chance to visit Petra was an important factor in my decision to take this particular world cruise. One of my big bucket list items.
Petra is more than two thousand years old, first built by the Nabataean empire and which prospered through trade in frankincense, myrrh and other spices.
The Romans seized it and it continued to thrive until it was nearly destroyed in an earthquake in 356 AD which eventually led to its downfall and desertion in the 7th century. It was lost to all except the local Bedouin until the early 1800's when a Swiss explorer set out to rediscover Petra and, dressed up as an Arab, convinced his Bedouin guide to take him to the lost city.
Petra is known as the rose red city, for the color of the rock from which it was carved. Besides being a thriving little city, Petra is also a large mausoleum, as the Nabataeans buried their dead in intricate tombs that were cut out of the mountainsides.
To walk Petra, you'll need several hours, as there is much to see along this nearly 3-mile one way trek from start to the end of the main trail. The trail in is a slight incline downhill which meant that the walk back was all slightly uphill. It was a good walk. Every time you rounded a slight bend or turned a corner, you found yourself looking at some new marvel - a bright green leafed tree sticking out of the rock, cave-ish looking holes set into the rock yards above your head, which reminded you that this is really one big tomb city.
Narrow crevices letting in rays of sun. Carved out waterways to divert the water so the main street wouldn't flood during the infrequent rains. The beautifully preserved Treasury building, where it is believed to hold the remains of one of the early Nabataean kings.
I can see why this is on the wonders hit parade. Such a beautiful and sacred place. I'm so glad I got to see this.