Petra; what superlatives haven’t been used to describe this amazing place. Voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World it most certainly deserves this title and captures the imagination of all those fortunate to have visited.
Perhaps best known by it’s most famous Monument, the Treasury, most people first glance upon this awe inspiring site after having walked through the almost secret passage like entrance of The Siq. After rounding a bend in the canyon they catch a glimpse of the ornately carved details of the facade, beckoning the adventurer to rush forward, the towering walls of The Siq giving way to reveal Treasury in all it’s glory.
Recently I had the opportunity to see Treasury from another perspective. A friend was visiting for a few days and a chance encounter in town with a couple of Atef’s cousins, one of whom is a tour guide, saw us tagging along on a guided tour with a difference. Setting off in the late afternoon, our exploration party of 4 started our journey not at the entrance to The Siq, instead on a backroad into Petra.
We hiked through an open valley until we reached the top of a small canyon. Descending into this canyon was our entrance into Petra.
Deeper into the Canyon we descended.
Nature’s artwork – an amazing array of colours
Nature wasn’t the only sculptor that we saw evidence of. Throughout our hike there were reminders of the great Nabataean civilization from caves, tombs, votive niches, rock carved stairways, and engineering efforts to capture and divert water.
Just when I wondered how much further into the canyon we were heading we reached our view point. Treasury appeared at our feet as we stood on the cliff face high above the valley floor below.
It was a unique and different perspective to admire the details and marvel at the grandeur of the Nabataeans skills.
The setting sun provided the opportunity of capturing the sun rays through the steep cliff walls.
Looking through to the Street of Facades and the theatre.
With the light fading we made our way back up the canyon to our pick up point. The colours of the setting sun and the descending darkness contrasted against the deepening shadows the mountains.
If you ever find yourself with the fantastic opportunity to visit Petra do yourself a favour and don’t just come for 1-2 of days. Spend 3 or 4 days exploring the site as there is so much to see and some fantastic treks, with the help of a guide, are possible for those who are willing to find themselves off the beaten track. You will be rewarded with unique views and perspectives of Petra far beyond the pictures that you see in postcards and books.