New Photo Gallery of Petra, click above.
Yesterday I said we would be going to Petra, and so we did. The city was inhabited by the Nabateans, and was the not the province of the Queen of Sheba (never believe anything your cousin tells you). But it was an immensely important trade city because of its location between ancient Palestine (the Gaza strip) and Aqaba, the city at the top of the Red Sea on the Jordan side of the Sinai Peninsula.
Most exciting about this city is that it is entirely carved in existing stone, and you can only reach it by hiking down a long canyon (a walk of about 1 mile).
The city is well preserved because it was undiscovered until 1830. Until then no one had lived in the area since ancient times, except for Bedouins, and they kept outsiders away. At the time, the people spoke Aramaic (the language of Jesus), and the city lay between the Israelites and the Egyptians.
The people had temples to their own deities, as well as Hellenic, Roman and Egyptian. There were statues and beautifully colored facades, many now faded.
Unfortunately, many of the gods' statues were destroyed by people who do not believe in portraying God in an anthropomorphic manner. They were shot or knocked over in recent history.
There is a large tomb that no one is sure of to whom it belonged. It is believed a Pharoah, possibly. Someone did plunder it and did find 5 jars of gold and jewels, now in the British Museum.
I urge you to look at the pictures, and I will post more information later.
Tomorrow it is back to Egypt to see the later dynasties, the Valley of the kings in the upper Nile. -- Karnak.