The Lost City of Stone

Copyright ©: mytripolog.com

Copyright ©: mytripolog.com

The city of Petra (gr. petra = stone) in Jordan is definitely one of the places one must visit before they die. Part of the UNESCO sites (since 1985), it stands between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, a remnant of an important crossroads between Arabia, Egypt and Syria-Phoenicia. This Jordanian symbol was established somewhere around 300 B.C. as a capital city of the Nabataeans, the ancient Arabs of North Arabia, blending Eastern traditions with Greek architecture.

John W. Burgon (1813-1888) described Petra in one of his poems as ‘a rose-red city half as old as time‘ because of its warm-colored sunlit sandstone rock. Its beauty has always been a reason for deep fascination and indeed its very structure, built in durable stone, makes Petra seem as if it has always been there, long before the dawn of time. This location has been featured in many movie productions and documentaries, such as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, Adventures of Tintin, Ancient Megastructures: Petra, The Naked Archaeologist and many more.

Long ago, Petra wasn’t known solely for its beauty and mystery, but for centuries it was a meeting point for camel caravans that transported their goods between Arabia, China and India. Three massive structures, known as Royal Tombs, are carved into the flat sandstone face, known as the King’s Wall. The first is The Urn Tomb, followed by The Corinthian Tomb and The Palace Tomb. They all share the privilege of being soaked into a multitude of chromatic effects that arise from the very nature of the stone they were built in.

One of the most famous places in Petra is probably The Treasury, as depicted above, which was originally built as a mausoleum at the beginning of the 1st century A.D. during the reign of Aretas IV Philopatris. The first glimpse of this 40 meters tall architectural wonder is uncovered after leaving The Siq, a gorge formed by the torrent. The facade of the crypt has partly eroded away in its two thousand years existence, yet some of the architectural details are still visible.

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