Last post about the “Seven World Wonders” has sparked quite a discussion!
Many of you were writing messages and sending me photos from your travels, almost each single treasure appeared on my screen! I was really stunned with how great adventures you guys are having here and there 🙂
If you feel like sharing them with the world, send the photos my way and I will feature them here !!
Today, as promissed – I invite you to check out seven wonderful reasons to visit Petra, the Acient City of Nabataeans and one of the greates treasures of the Middle East.
Why should you pack your suitcase and come as soon as you can?
1. If you keep coming back to Petra, you won’t ever age!
Petra, called Al-Batrā (البتراء) in Arabic, is an Ancient and archaeological city located in Ma’a – a governate at the southern part of Jordan, not so far away from the border with Israel.
Many scientists and historians date the creation of Petra back to 312 BC – the complex was built as a capital city of the Kingdom of Nabataeans. The ever-vibrant Nomadic Arabs, who turned their own construction into a powerful empire, have thus lied cultural and religious foundations for what we today broadly refer to as the “Arab World”.
Over the centuries, Petra has become not only a unique Arab legacy, but through religious cleavages – also a bastion of Christianity embraced by the Islamic Middle East. Coming here, is like coming home – no matter where you are from, or what is your religion – arriving at Petra means traveling back in time. It is a journey to the very origins of humanity. It is a journey to the deepest self, most amazing history lesson you can think of.
So, if you just kept coming back to the past all the time – you won’t ever age, right?
2. You will get right in the middle of the Ancient commercial hub
Petra, serving for ages as a “gate to the world”, was this place where major trade routes between Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East were crossing. A desired resting oasis for wandering Bedouins, a market for sellers of luxurious silks, spices, incense or skin, and a destination to world’s pilgrims – the Kingdom of Nabataeans was smiply “a place to be”.
All the fancy looking old men with long beards were smoking gouza and drinking their coffee here. Most beautiful Arab women with mysterious eyes of the National Geographic “Afghan Girl“, were buying their Niqābs here. Entire families were coming to choose best camels for the dowry of their daughters. Young boys were playing Mancala among the orange rocks.
“Today, not so much has changed. As soon as you take a step down the rocky path – prepare to be a target and have your market strategy ready to pull out off the pocket.”
You will be immidiately invited to take a donkey ride, touch a camel, take picture with most real of the modern Ancient bedouins, drink “cheapest and most delisious” coffee in the world at 50 different booths (at the same time), buy a unique Nabataean bracelet, necklace, ring, scarf, and postcard, rest under the olive tree “more precious than one at the neighboring yard”, try “most authentic spices found in the thombs of the kings of Petra”, smile to from with and at the people around, at realize how little you are in face of the history, present, and future you were thrown into at once.
Only on your own responsibility!!!
3. This is the closest to the Holy Grail you will ever get
Do you recall a handsome man with sandy hat on his head, noose in hand, fast as soud horse, and a company of the Last Crusade? Yes! I am talking about INDIANA JONES, my childhood hero :D.
Third movie of a famous series directed by Steven Spilberg was shot here, at Petra in 1989! Has anything changed almost thirty years after Indiana arrived in Petra to search for his father, a Holy Grail scholar, who has been kidnapped by Nazis?
Is the Grail still here?
One of the names for Petra – “Al Khazneh” or “The Treasury” in English, is used not without a reason . . . And although much of the walth has been stolen from Kingdom over the years of the actual Crusades, has this last one of Indiana Jornes really succed in finding Grail?
One way to find out !!!
One thing I can tell you for sure though: Harisson Ford still looks as young, handsome, and energetic as he was three decades ago while starring as Jones. A reason for this? No doubt – he travelled travel to Petra and a miracle of never-aging happened. Ha! You just have to try it yourself!
4. Try being a daltonist for a day
One of the most breathtaking aspects of Petra – for many people surpassing even the architecture – is its colourful sandstone, which depending on the time of the day and angle of sun rays – reflects in orange, red, rose, and yellow colors.
If you arrive at the very morning, peach and salmon shades will welcome you with delicate brush of a stroke. Further yellow, sandy and coral shades at noon, followed by rose, ivory, and bulush in the afternoon, to violet, magenta, mahogany, and burgund at night.
Easy for me to say after couple visits and study of multiple photographs. However, by the time you leave Petra at night for the first time (NIGHT VISITS ARE ALSO AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE WORTH TRYING!!) – you won’t be able to tell the difference between any of these colors! The definition of orange or red won’t be the same anymore, I promise.
Why? Gasped by the natural beauty, you will start mixing all these colors up into vague memories of one of the greatest spectacles on Earth.
5. You will realize that “amazing” can describe more the just food
A perception that more and more people choose quality of food, as an aspect determining their travel destination, really scares me. Do you seriously want to go down this path? Does it mean we are willing to consciously miss on visiting a miracle place just because sometimes people who live there have to survive the entire day with just a handful of dates and bedouin bread? Of course not!
Petra has enough amazing features to take your breath away for long enough that you will completely forget about eating. The experience itself will just fill you up 100%, you have my word for this. And – if you still are hungry, all around there are multiple little cafess that will steal your heart with delicious mensaf, hummus, falafel, and freshly made kanafeh!
6. Get 800 opportunities to hang out around the dead “Royal” people
One of the most splendid features of Petra is a complex of 800 individual monuments that include buildings, baths, funerary halls, temples, arched gateways, and colonnaded streets, that were carved from the kaleidoscopic sandstone. However, most important are the sourrounding Royal Tombs, where the Kings of Petra, including Nabataean King Malchus II, were burried. Climb up the rocky hills will allow you to not only reach for a breathtaking view from the top, but also – to discover the mystery of mummies, hear stories from before the era of Christ, and get those Mensaf calories burned!
7. Your definition of “hot” will reach a new level 😉
Think about what hot temperature means to you, try to feel it. Then imagine yourself walking for few hours like that in an open space without a mililiter of shade or a touch of cold breeze. Then add up maybe 10 to 15 more degrees and you are in Pertra 🙂 It gets really, really warm here.
In the summer 90s of Fahrenheight and 40s in Celsius are a norm. This is why the best time to come is late spring or early fall – that’s when the temperatires are moderate, the air becomes a little more moist and you may even find some shade among the pink rocks.
Whenever you decide to come – supply yourself with a bottle of water that you can easily refill, mandatory sunglasses, closed shoes, and a hat! Clothes for later change from the sandy and camel-smelling pants or t-shirt would be nice too 🙂 Also – remember to cover up your arms. Not only will you avoid the painful sunburns – but also, as a guest in Islamic world, this way you will show respect to the established norms of both religion and culture in public spaces.
I will see you soon in Petra!!