Sunday, January 20, 2008

Petra in Jordan-- a note

Carved into rock and protected by rugged mountains and a 200 metre deep gorge is the ancient ‘rose-red’ city of Petra near the town of Wadi Musa (valley of Moses), 180 miles south of Amman in Jordan. Over 2,000 years ago, nomadic Arab tribes called the Nabateans established Petra as their fortress-capital, that controlled the trade route from India to Rome. Fromthe taxes they earned, they built an amazing city of monumental tombs, carved temples, amphitheaters, gateways and water channels and decorative buildings from solid rock. The city is entered through a 1.5 km long, narrow chasm in the rock, the Siq, before dramatically revealing Petra’s most famous monument, the treasury, or Al-Khazneh, intricately carved into the solid pink sandstone that featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. After its decline, Petra remained hidden until 1812 when it was unearthed by an explorer, John L Burkhardt.

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