Home of the Nabateans.

Trip Start Sep 21, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Jordan  ,
Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Petra is definitely the highlight of my trip so far. It was way beyond my expectations, and they were pretty high ! I had to stay here for three full days and I trekked and hiked every possible corner of it. I just couldn't get enough of Petra.

The Jordanians are such great people. I can't count how many people invited me for a good Bedouin Tea. And it was not a trick to to approach me so they could sell my something, it was genuine kindness. I felt like they all wanted to get to know me and to hear more and more about Canada.

The 2 mile walk at the bottom of the chasm that leads to the justifiably famous Treasury is simply breathtaking. When the Treasury reveals itself through the narrow opening in the 200 ft walls of rock, it's the most impressive scene one can imagine. I stood there in awe for about an hour. Absolutely unforgettable.

Petra was built around 600 BC by the Nabateans. Strategically located, they were a very prosperous nation whose wealth mostly came from the commerce of spices and incense they facilitated between China, India, Egypt, Syria, Greece and Rome. 

The Nabateans were a nomad people and Petra was nothing but a sacred funerary place where they carved grandiose temples and tombs for their kings out of solid sandstone rock. But that abruptly changed when the Romans decided to take over the lucrative spice and incense business. The Nabateans were then forced to settle in towns so they would be easier to control by Rome. That's when the Nabateans established themselves in the countless caves that surround Petra.

To this day, there are still a few hundred people living in those caves, some of which invited me for tea. The Jordanian government built a town with modern houses for them but many wouldn't leave the cave in which their ancestors had lived for nearly two millenniums before them.

Petra, tribute to the wealth and prowess of the Nabateans.
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