PHOTOS: A Walking Tour Of Petra, The Ancient Rock City Of Jordan


Photo: Mamta Badkar

Petra was the capital city of the Nabateans, a pagan civilisation that held the popular imagination long before Hollywood took Indiana Jones to the rock city.It was the subject of paintings and poems by 19th century travellers.

The city’s historical and architectural significance is well-documented. 

But my visit there also showed me its religious significance–Christian groups often visit the site as they retrace Moses’ footsteps through Egypt and Jordan.

While the play of sunlight on the richly coloured sandstone rocks is impressive in itself, even more unforgettable are the tremendous structures that dwarf and humble visitors to the ancient city.

The Eastern entrance to Petra is through a long, narrow gorge called the Siq

Through the gorge is the first sign of the Treasury, which was discovered by a Swiss explorer in 1812

The Treasury, or Al Khazneh, lies in the Edom Mountains of southwest Jordan

Here is the façade of the Treasury, which was not actually a treasury, but a place of worship

Here, worshippers from Horizon Christian Fellowship listen to a sermon. Some believe this was the spot where Moses drew water from a rock

A local sits playing a string instrument

Tourists typically take photos with the camels, and use 'desert taxis' or mule rides to explore the city

The amphitheater is cut into the hillside, which allows a view of the tombs in the distance

Petra has Nabatean and Greco-Roman tombs; seen here is the Royal Urn tomb

Even in the distance, Petra's jagged, red sandstone stands out

A long, uphill trek leads to the monastery, Petra's largest monument, believed to be a Nabatean temple

If Petra doesn't quite do it for you...

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