Ancient Wonders Are In
By Norma R.
If you are fascinated by the ancient wonders
of the world, love archaeology, are physically fit, and
want to treat yourself to an unusual travel experience,
then you should consider a trip to Petra, in the Middle
Petra is located in the country of Jordan, and was the
capital of the Nabateans from the 3rd century B.C. to the
2nd century A.D. It is a trip back in time, and is very
difficult to believe that such a place exists in today's
The city of Petra was carved out of huge,
reddish-colored rocks by ancient men who found a safe
haven in the interior of the rocks. A giant but rather
narrow crack in one rock forms a canyon that allowed
these early settlers to enter to the rocks' center and
carve out a city. The canyon is about two-thirds of a
mile long. Many bands of roving marauders threatened the
peace-loving Nabateans until they finally settled in
Since the only entrance to the city of Petra
was through the crack that formed the canyon, the
Nabateans were able to guard this relatively small
opening that only allowed a handful of mauraders to enter
at once. The Nabatean guards simply bludgeoned suspicious
intruders to death and thus protected their people.
With this rather simplistic military system, they were
able to establish a peaceful lifestyle and live in
harmony for more than a hundred years.
During their time in Petra, they carved magnificent
monuments out of the rose colored rock. The most striking
in "El Khazneh," the treasury that is the tomb
of their king. This impressive monument is nearly 140
feet high and 90 feet wide.
Beyond the treasury, visitors are surrounded by
hundreds of temples, tombs, a Roman theater that seated
3,000, baths, staircases and ancient markets. They are
all awesome. There is so much to see that it is difficult
to manage it all in one day.
The ground through the canyon entrance is
rough and uneven, so most of today's visitors enter by
horseback or camel. The horses and camels take you about
halfway; then you switch to a horse and buggy. It is
really a fun trip if you're not afraid of the animals. It
is possible to walk but it you do, you will be forced to
keep your eyes on your feet so that you do not stumble
and fall. It's a shame to walk and miss such spectacular
The path through the canyon is downhill and filled
with loose gravel and small rocks, so you must be very
careful. The horses and camels don't seem to have a
problem with the walk into Petra. It takes about 20
minutes for a slow-paced horse led by a native guide to
get to the halfway point. The guides assist those who are
not proficient horseback riders. At the halfway point,
you switch to the horse and buggy.
Once inside, you are on flat manageable ground and can
enter the treasury that is a tomb but has the appearance
of a temple.
Those who know how to ride get there much faster and
have the option of seeing more of the city.
Enter Petra by horseback or camel is a treat.
It gives you time to notice the beautiful, pinkish-red
flowers that jut out from cracks in the rock, and see the
many caves that were carved as homes by the Nabateans.
There is a wonderful and unusual hotel near Petra
called "Taybet Zaman." I would recommend
staying there at least two nights. The rates when I was
there were $130 plus 20 percent tax (or $156.00), double
occupancy. You can book it through your travel agent. The
Taybet Zaman hotel has modern facilities but still
manages to give you the feeling of living in an authentic
Jordanian village. April and May are excellent months to
plan a trip.
Petra is one of the most stunning surviving
wonders of the ancient world. If you're adventurous and
enjoy unusual sightseeing, this is a vacation for you.